Home / News / American Baptist Home Ministries responds to Trayvon Martin case: We must find a better way
American Baptist Home Ministries responds to Trayvon Martin case:  We must find a better way

American Baptist Home Ministries responds to Trayvon Martin case: We must find a better way

Wearing a hoodie in support of Trayvon Martin, Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III, executive director of the

image courtesy of ABC News Orange County Jail

American Baptist Home Ministries says "we need to find a better way." Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III, executive director of the ABHM recounts the experiences with the police African Americans have had, including himself and his son, regarding "walking and driving while being [a minister and being] Black. "   This issue has been forced to the forefront with the events of the Trayvon Martin case.  We reported on the the calls for justice by African American churches regarding the Martin case .

ABC News has published a timeline of the Martin case thus far:

March 23: Roughly 50 schools in Florida stage walkouts to protest the killing of Trayvon Martin and show support for the change.org petition, demanding George Zimmerman’s arrest.

The online petition surpasses 1.5 million signatures, making it all time fastest growing petition in change.org’s history, according to the website.

At a White House press conference, President Obama takes time to addressthe Trayvon Martin case, saying, “If I had a son he’d look like Trayvon.”

Hoodies on the Hill,” a group of Capitol Hill staffers, rally in support of Martin.

Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera ignites a firestorm of criticism when he seemed to indicate that Martin’s hoodie, which he was wearing the night of the shooting, was to blame for his death.

A second “Million Hoodie March”  takes place in Philadelphia. Thousands attend.

Members of the Miami Heat basketball team dispatch Twitter pictures, showing team members wearing hoodies in support of Martin.

March 24: A friend of George Zimmerman’s family tells ABC News that thevoice heard howling on the 911 tapes was Zimmerman’s, not 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The friend also said  Zimmerman ”couldn’t stop crying” in the days following the shooting.

Zimmerman’s attorney Craig Sonner tells ABC News that Zimmerman is not a racist, and that his client has received numerous calls and threats.

The Black Panthers put up a $10,000 bounty for Zimmerman’s “capture.”

March 25: Joe Oliver, who describes himself as a close friend of George Zimmerman’s family, appears on “Good Morning America” and reiterates that Zimmerman has gone into hiding, fears for his life and is “just now becoming aware of how big this has gotten.”

Oliver later tells ABC News’ David Muir that he “didn’t even know whether George pulled the trigger.”

Zimmerman’s attorney Craig Sonner tells ABC News it will be clear in court that Zimmerman acted in self defense, and that he suffered a broken nose and an injury to the back of his head the night Trayvon Martin was killed.

March 26: George Zimmerman originally told police in a written statement that Trayvon Martin knocked him down with a punch to the nose, repeatedly slammed his head on the ground and tried to take his gun, a police source tells ABC News.

Lead prosecutor and veteran State Attorney Angela Corey tells ABC News that convicting Zimmerman won’t be easy because of Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law.

“The stand-your-ground law is one portion of justifiable use of deadly force,” Corey said. “And what that means is that the state must go forward and be able to prove it’s case beyond a reasonable doubt… So it makes the case in general more difficult than a normal criminal case.”

ABC News confirms that Trayvon Martin was suspended from school for 10 days for possession of marijuana in mid-February. No comment from the family.

Reverend Al Sharpton announces he vows to “occupy” Sanford, Fla., over Easter.

March 27: ABC News confirms that the night Trayvon Martin was shot, Chris Serino, the lead homicide detective on the case, said he “disbelieved” George Zimmerman’s testimony and recommended in an affidavit that Zimmerman be arrested for manslaughter. But the State Attorney’s office, headed by Norman Wolfinger, instructed him not to press charges because it was deemed there wasn’t enough evidence to lead to a conviction.

ABC News also confirms that Trayvon Martin was suspended from school three times.

About 200 to 250 protesters gather in front of the U.S. Justice Department to ask the department to charge George Zimmerman with a federal hate crime.

Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, attend a forum on racial profiling and hate crimes on Capitol Hill. Tracy Martin says he believes his son was racially profiled.

March 28: ABC News EXCLUSIVE: A police surveillance video taken the night that Trayvon Martin was shot dead shows no blood or bruises on George Zimmerman. The initial police report noted that Zimmerman was bleeding from the back of the head and nose. His lawyer later insisted that Zimmerman’s nose had been broken in his scuffle with 17-year-old Martin.

Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., dons a hoodie in support of Trayvon Martin and is kicked off the House floor for improper dress code.

Many Christian groups have rallied in support of Trayvon Martin.  The Christian Post reports that Christians across the country have rallied wearing hoodies to church to speak out for Trayvon:

Christians across the country went to church on Sunday wearing hooded sweatshirts to show solidarity with Trayvon Martin, who wore one when he was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida. Pastors called for justice for the slain black teenager as part of their sermons.

At Martin's family church, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Miami Gardens, Fla., Martin's mother Sybrina Fulton, attended the 7 a.m. service Sunday. The members planned to leave in buses for rallies in Sanford Monday, Miami Herald reported.

At Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Eatonville, Fla., the Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke about Martin's death with the hundreds of congregants. "How do we turn pain into power?" he posed, as reported by The Associated Press. The church is about 20 miles from the site of the killing. "How do we go from a moment to a movement that curries favor?"

He said Martin's "martyr" death could revive the Civil Rights Commission and raise some long-standing issues. "The blood of the innocent has power," he said.

About Dakota O'Leary

Dakota O'Leary is a freethinker, and often sassy, scholar of theology and literature. She got her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Theology from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, and her Master of Arts degree in Theology and Literature from Antioch University-Midwest. She is a contributing writer focusing on eschatology, biblical prophecy, and general religious news. Dakota is a co-host of the God Discussion radio show, offering insight to the news stories of the week. We like to call her "our in-house Biblical prophecy expert" as her articles on eschatology have received over 200,000 views on God Discussion.
  • Sheldon

    There's still conflicting info on this… mostly from the Zimmerman camp. Zimmerman's father claims his son said he was reaching for his cell phone when Martin attacked him. However, police state Zimmerman told them he was walking back to his truck when Martin attacked him.

    "Leaks from the police report detail Zimmerman telling police he was heading back to his truck when Martin knocked him down with a punch to his nose, jumped on him, repeatedly banged his head on the ground, then tried to grab Zimmerman's gun."(ABC news link above re: suspended from school).

    The police report does bring up an interesting point though. If Zimmerman was in fact heading back to his truck, was he back-pedalling or was his back turned to Martin, in which case, how did Martin punch him in the nose?

    I'm not suggesting for a moment that Zimmerman wasn't injured or that the police are lying about those injuries. However, if Martin was fighting for his life rather than attacking a stranger, it would easily explain Zimmerman's injuries. If I was fighting for my life, I would do everything and anything to win that fight.

    •  Why would Zimmerman back peddle if he had a gun and Trayvon did not?  That makes no sense.

      • Sheldon


  • joe paterno

    Zimmerman had no business following Martin and had no business getting out of his truck to confront Martin.  It wasn't Zimmerman's job to police the area.  Neighborhood watch is not the equivalent of the police. 
    This does not come under the stand-your-ground statute because Zimmerman initiated contact, not Martin.
    I'm amazed that an arrest has not yet been made.

  • That second video gets to me.  While I don't believe Zimmerman should have used lethal force, I don't think anyone should put a $10,000 bounty on his head either.  However, it is true that if a Black person commits a crime, he gets thrown in jail, but if someone else, who's not Black commits a crime, they don't always get thrown in jail, esp if it's against a Black person.  Some white man far over 21 provided my younger son, under 21, alcohol.  That's suppose to be a crime, but because my son cracked his head open, while drunk, my son gets felony, while the grown man doesn't even get arrest for providing a minor alcohol.  I asked why he didn't get charged with a crime too and all I get is, "That's Missouri for you."  I'm sorry, but they BOTH broke the law, but my son gets charged with a crime that might not have happen if an adult had not provided him alcohol and that felony is still hanging over head a year later, and now he faces charges for a non-violent felony.  The people he was with, in this incident, were white and involved in the crime too, but no one seems to be hunting them down to throw them in jail too.  Something is wrong with that picture.

    Zimmerman, who's not Black, uses lethal force in a questionable situation, against a young black man, not even at the age of majority, but Zimmerman's not sitting in jail until his court date.  He's not even out on bail, as far as we know, which leaves many Black families and biracial Black families saying, "WTF?" because if it were the other way around, Trayvon would be sitting jail, awaiting trial, maybe he or a friend would post bail and maybe not, depending if they had the money to post bail.  Trayvon might even be held without bail, if it were the other way around.  Zimmerman, as far as we know, is not out on bail and he's definitely not in jail awaiting his court date.

    Be that as it may, I don't think Zimmerman should have to hide either, but sadly, so many incidents like this have happened, that things are a hot bed and makes it dangerous for Zimmerman, who's not Black and probably doesn't entirely comprehend what is happening.  I think people would leave him alone and not be protesting as much, even to potential violence in some cases, if Zimmerman were in police custody, even if it were only for his safety.  Here's the more frightening part, whether it was self-defense or not- because of media coverage and all, Zimmerman, more than likely, cannot live any where in the U.S. he chooses safely.  He'd have to be very careful where he decided to live, because of all the anger and outrage on this incident.

    IF he really did act in self-defense, he's just the unlucky person to end up catching the wrath of a minority group that has been persecuted long before slavery ended, because the fact is, Trayvon, if he were in Zimmerman's shoes right now, would be sitting in jail until the judge ruled.  Zimmerman's not Black nor is he part of a Black family and people keep saying, "He's not White".  That's not right either.  Bottom line is, "He ain't Black, so he gets to walk."  Therein lies the anger- if you're Black, you go to jail, while everyone else involved, who's not Black, or if anyone else, who's not Black, did the same thing, they'd be walking around free, just like Zimmerman.  If you're Black, and involved in a crime or accused of a crime, doesn't matter who else is involved or not involved, you sit in jail, while if a person who's not Black commits a crime, is involved in a possible crime, or is accused of a crime, walks around free.

    However, even I believe we have enough info on Zimmerman, that he should be in jail, not walking around free, without charges, but you can damn well bet if the table was reversed, Trayvon would be sitting in jail right now.  There is something very wrong with our justice system, when a Black person goes to jail and a person who's not Black, is in the same scenario, walks free.

    • joe paterno

      Mriana, to me, the self-defense defense simply doesn't hold.  Zimmerman, with gun, acted as the law and initiated contact with a person walking home from a store.  This was not a home break-in, where someone feared for his life and shot the intruder in self-defense.  There was no intruder.  This happened on the street in the public arena.  If Florida sanctions this kind of no holds barred kind of gun usage… 

      • I never siad it was self-defense.

        • Joepaterno

          Yes, I know you didn't.  You said, "IF he really did act in self-defense, he's just the unlucky person  to end up catching the wrath of a minority group…". 

          •  However, that does not mean I think it was self-defense.

            • Joepaterno

              Please, I know.  However, there are those out there who DO think it was self-defense.

              •  Sadly this is true and many of them, who think it was self-defense, probably won't comprehend what I was trying to say.  It doesn't matter what ethnic background Zimmerman is, the point is, to the Black Community, he's not Black and got off without even spending a night in jail and/or bond, whereas, if the tables were turned and Trayvon shot and killed Zimmerman, Trayvon would be in jail now, despite saying it was self-defense.  Many don't believe Black people get sent to jail, while others get to walk around free for similar/same crimes, but I am finding it, from observation, sadly, to be true.

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