Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (D-11), Cleveland NAACP
President The Rev. Hilton Smith and National NAACP
President Ben Jealous
By Kathy Wray Coleman, Editor, Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.Com, Ohio's No 1 and No 2 online Black newspapers (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com) and (www.clevelandurbannews.com). Kathy Wray Coleman is a former biology teacher and a 20-year investigative Black journalist who trained for some 15 years at the Call and Post Newspaper, a Black weekly with distributions in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Reach Coleman by phone at 216-659-0473 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cleveland, Ohio- In the wake of an acquittal last weekend of night watchman George Zimmerman, who followed, stalked and then gunned down unarmed Black teen Trayvon Martin in a Florida suburb last year, and even after police dispatchers directed him to back off, Ohio 11th Congressional District Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge and the Congressional Black Caucus of Black members of Congress that she leads are demanding that racial profiling against America's Black community come to an end.
Cleveland Chapter NAACP President The Rev. Hilton Smith, a communications executive for Tuner Construction Company and an associate minister at Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church in Cleveland, agrees and issued a press statement from the NAACP Convention in Florida saying his organization is "saddened and outraged by the verdict."
Smith, who became chapter president late last year, and the executive committee of the Cleveland NAACP that he leads, have made racial profiling an ongoing organizational goal to tackle, and the congresswoman is standing with them to fight a problem that they say has drawn more credence through the Trayvon Martin tragedy.
"This practice and the presumption of guilt so often associated with people of color must come to an end," said Fudge in a press release on the Zimmerman acquittal. "Racial profiling continues to make communities of innocent individuals fear a justice system designed to protect them."
A licensed attorney, former national president of Delta Sigma Theta Inc, and one of two Blacks in Congress from Ohio, Fudge said that Trayvon's death and widespread inequities in the country's legal system that target communities of color are unconstitutional.
"The fight for equality and equal protection under the law in this country is far from over," said the federal lawmaker, a Warrensville Hts. Democrat whose predominantly Black 11th congressional district includes the east side of the largely Black city of Cleveland, and its eastern suburbs, staggering parts of Summit County, and a pocket of Akron, a Summit County city 25 miles south of Cleveland.
The congresswoman stressed that through cohesive action "we can assure Trayvon Martin's death will not be in vain."
National NAACP President Ben Jealous, a former journalist, and a Rhodes Scholar like former President Bill Clinton, wants Zimmerman prosecuted in federal court on charges he killed Martin after he racially profiled him and that he violated a plethora of other Civil Rights of the 17-year-old teen, now a mortar.
Jealous, 40, told reporters that while the NAACP acknowledges last week's jury verdict, Zimmerman, who is White, should be prosecuted under the fullest extent of the law, and that just because the over zealous night watchman beat a second degree murder charge brought on behalf of the state of Florida does not automatically exonerate him from criminal Civil Rights charges by a federal venue of jurisdiction.
"The most fundamental of Civil Rights, the right to life, was violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life of Trayvon Martin," said Jealous in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. "We ask that the [U.S.] Department of Justice file civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman for this egregious violation."