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The National Coalition of 100 Black Women Speaks on the Verdict in the Trayvon Martin Case and Stand Your Grounds Laws

7/23/2013, 4:26 p.m.
Trayvon Martin

"A call for peace is in order and there remains an imperative for civil action," said NCBW national president M. Delois Strum. "Inequitable justice is no justice," she continued.

The members of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women continue to grieve at the tragic death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and for every man, woman and child that fall victim to misjudgment and senseless acts of violence."

Our prayers remain with the Martin family for healing and for peaceful justice.

NCBW is outraged and disappointed that Race Still Matters in this country's laws, that there is still disproportionate application of these laws and in the judicial process.

We believe Judicial Equity is a basic human right," said Strum

Overshadowed by a history of inequity for African American people in the criminal justice system, this once again has been evidenced and directly observed by the world in the case of Trayvon Martin.

Regrettably, racial considerations were apparent in the juror composition, in the execution of the litigation and in the perceptions, utterances and deliberate actions of Mr. Zimmerman. African Americans and specifically Trayvon Martin were not regarded equally. Our country's judicial system is broken immeasurably when a loss of human life is marginalized by flawed laws that were enacted with the good intention of protecting oneself from harm and danger.

According to Public Policy Co-chair Sherese Brewington-Carr, "Stand Your Ground Laws or similar laws exist in approximately 23 states across this country in the West and Southern geographic regions. Upon review, our assessment is that the origin of many of these laws was intended to protect women in cases of domestic abuse from further harm or danger and/or allow citizens legal authorization to self-defend where evident. What is not consistent in the current Stand Your Ground Laws is a Duty to Retreat requirement to avoid confrontation.

"We are certain this is where personal judgment, racial orientation, intolerance, human emotion and fear may motivate incendiary decision making and violent actions," Brewington-Carr stated.

Note: NCBW is on record regarding our views on Domestic Violence and Gun Violence. Similarly, NCBW President, Dee Strum, has spoken repeatedly to our chapters and national leadership this past year on the urgency to identify, and join with, local and state organizations to review and challenge, as appropriate, these state laws that work to perpetuate violence.

NCBW asks that these flawed laws be addressed immediately to stop legalized violent acts as in the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. Until this is done we believe that in states where these laws exist every African American is at risk!

NCBW stands with like-minded civil rights organizations in calling for a federal review by the United States Department of Justice in the Trayvon Martin case and Stand Your Ground Laws in every state. We ask that a Duty to Retreat clause be required in every applicable law and, in cases where it is absent, the perpetrators be penalized to the highest extent of the law.

We are looking to the Department of Justice, competently lead by Attorney General Eric Holder, to restore our faith and bring credibility back to our judicial system.

"Undoubtedly much work remains to be done to improve race relations as one's racial orientation and intolerance is subjective. We are one people and we are one country," concluded Strum.

The National Coalition of 100 Black Women is an advocacy group for African American women. With sixty-three chartered chapters across the country and a core mission focus in the areas of Health, Education, and Economic Empowerment through our strategic alliances and partnerships, we are intentional about positively impacting the lives of our constituents: African American women and girls.