NEW YORK (April 11, 2012) – Charges announced today in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin more than six weeks ago are the first step toward justice in a tragedy that nearly escaped scrutiny, National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said.
“While most of the media attention surrounding the case has focused on the motivations of the shooter, George Zimmerman, national outrage was stirred by the Sanford Police Department’s initial failure to respond,” Morial said. “The crime of a teenage boy’s death was compounded and intensified by the authorities' refusal to treat his death as a crime. Today’s announcement is a reaffirmation that Trayvon’s life had meaning, and that the pursuit of justice is a national priority.
“Trayvon’s parents remain in our hearts, and their courage and dignity throughout this terrible ordeal continue to inspire all of us who pray for justice,” Morial said.
The National Urban League will continue to watch the legal proceedings closely as the case proceeds to trail, Morial said. He also encouraged the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the actions of law enforcement officials in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.
This morning, the National Urban League joined New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a coalition of civil rights, veterans rights and legal organizations to announce a “Second Chance at Stand Your Ground” campaign to urge legislators who voted in favor of these laws but now understand the significant unintended consequences of rising justifiable homicide rates to express their disapproval of the laws and participate in efforts to amend and repeal them.
Morial said he was proud of the Urban League Movement’s support for justice for Trayvon, particularly Central Florida Urban League President and CEO Allie Braswell, who was among the first to call for a special prosecutor in the case.
“I’m glad we were able to bring about a shift in the course of this case that has brought us to this point,” Braswell said. “The Urban League of Central Florida remains committed to seeing justice done, and we have confidence that special prosecutor Angela Corey will see it through.”
Morial added, “Without the commitment and passion of my fellow Urban Leaguers and the entire civil rights and social justice community, Trayvon’s case may never have proceeded to a full investigation. I believe the nation is on the road to healing from this tragedy.”
CONTACT: Teresa Candori