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Trayvon Martin was Standing His Ground

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By George E. Curry

NNPA Columnist Most people are asking whether Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law should apply to George Zimmerman, the 28-year-old neighborhood watch captain who killed an unarmed Trayvon Martin. That’s the wrong question. A better one is, given the circumstances, did the law protect Trayvon when he physically confronted Zimmerman? In a word, yes.

Looking at the 2005 law from a different perspective – through the eyes of 17-year-old Trayvon instead of Zimmerman – is critical because the debate over what happened on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla. is being misframed. Some facts are undisputed: Trayvon was walking home from a nearby 7-Eleven store, where he had purchased a bag of Skittles and a can of Arizona iced tea, when he was spotted by Zimmerman, who was driving a SUV. Zimmerman dialed 911 and reported seeing a suspicious Black male in the gated townhouse community.

Though he had no proof, Zimmerman claimed that Trayvon appeared to be high on drugs. When Zimmerman confirmed that he was following Trayvon, the 911 operator specifically told him to stop following Trayvon and that police officers were on their way to the scene. Instead of following instructions, Zimmerman continued to follow Trayvon.

What happened next is unclear because we are left only with Zimmerman’s version of events. We do know that shortly before he was shot to death, Trayvon had been talking on his cell phone with his girlfriend. She later told Trayvon’s family lawyer that he told her he was being followed by a strange White man. She urged him to run away from him.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Zimmerman told police he lost sight of Trayvon and got out of his SUV to follow him on foot. Zimmerman said he was returning to his vehicle when Trayvon allegedly approached him from the rear. The two exchanged words and began fighting. The neighborhood watch captain claimed Trayvon knocked him to the ground with a punch in the nose. Zimmerman said Trayvon climbed on top of him and began slamming his head into the sidewalk. Zimmerman told police that he began yelling for help, but two voice experts hired by the Sentinel concluded that the voice heard screaming for help on the 911 tapes was not that of the neighborhood watch captain. During the scuffle, Zimmerman pulled his 9 millimeter semi-automatic handgun and fatally shot Trayvon once in the chest. Police said that when they arrived, Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose, had a swollen lip and had cuts on the back of his head.

Those details were leaked by police to the Orlando newspaper in hopes of bolstering Zimmerman’s case. However, even if everything Zimmerman said is true – which is doubtful – he was clearly the aggressor, not the victim. He was the one who pursued Trayvon against the advice of the 911 dispatcher. And with police officers en route, he decided to leave his SUV and hunt for Trayvon. Even supporters of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law don’t believe Zimmerman should be allowed to hide behind the controversial legislation. State Rep. Dennis Baxley, the Ocala Republican who sponsored the bill in the House, told the Tampa Bay Times, “They got the goods on him [Zimmerman]. They need to prosecute whoever shot the kid. He has no protection under my law.”

Jeb Bush, who signed the bill into law when he was governor of Florida, agrees. “This law does not apply to this particular circumstance,” he said. “Stand your ground means stand your ground. It doesn’t mean chase after somebody who’s turned their back.” Florida statute 776.013(3), known as the Stand Your Ground law, says, in part: (a) person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

Trayvon was clearly operating within those boundaries when he faced-off against Zimmerman. He was a guest in one of the townhouses and therefore had an undeniable reason to be in the neighborhood. He had no duty to retreat simply because Zimmerman was the aggressor. And Trayvon had every right to believe that the person who had been stalking him was intent on inflicting great bodily harm.

Regardless of how Zimmernan’s family tries to spin the facts, it was Trayvon Martin who had the clear right to stand his ground. Whatever he did to Zimmerman was totally justified. And Zimmerman had no right to kill a 17-old-old youth carrying only a bag of candy and iced tea.

George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service and editorial director of Heart & Soul magazine. He is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. Curry can be reached through his Web site, www.georgecurry.com You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/currygeorge.

Disappointment in the Desert

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LPGA’s top two golfers fall to unlikely winner as Sun Young Yoo wins the Nabisco Championships capturing her first LPGA major victory.

By Gary Montgomery

Rancho Mirage – In twenty years of sports reporting I have never heard an athlete say I didn’t think I could win. We just don’t expect that level of humility in professional sports. We have been pre-conditioned to expect an almost annoying level of bravado and trash talk. After Sunday’s playoff win over I.K. Kim, Sun Young Yoo calmly said: “I didn’t think about winning today. I didn’t want to expect too much, and I didn’t want to let myself down, but I think I did better than I was thinking, so I’m very happy”.

Yes, Yoo did do much better than she expected and walked away with a cool $300,000 paycheck to help boast her expectations in the future. Yoo dropped an 18-foot birdie putt in the first playoff hole to beat fellow South Korean I.K. Kim and capture her first LPGA majors’ victory. Kim, the number two women’s golfer in the world was stunned at the end of regulation after missing a 1-foot gimme put that rimmed out leaving her in a tie with Yoo.

“I was nervous the whole way, obviously on the back 9 I think I executed good shots, and I hit many putts. But, on 18, you know, I wanted to make the putt with the right speed. But coming up to it I tried to take my time, and you know, same routine,” said Kim. Kim missed her opportunity the go to10 under par and win the tournament outright. Her bogey on the 18th hole dropped her to 9 under and a tie with Yoo. Yani Tseng, the world’s number one women’s golfer and the odds on favorite to win the tournament had a chance to get invited to the into the playoff round but missed a 17 foot putt to drop her to 8 under par and a third place finish after leading for the first two days of the tournament. There were five lead changes during Sunday’s exciting final round. Sweden’s, Karin Sjodin looked like she was in control after posting a 68 on Saturday to take the lead from Tseng. After Sjodin started to falter, Hee Kyung Seo briefly took over the lead but bogeyed the last four holes as she watched Kim overtake her on the leader board with Yoo in hot pursuit only one stroke back. After missing the soon to be legendary short putt on 18, Kim clutched her face in stunned silence. Her caddie rushed to give her a hug and it seemed to snap her out of the momentary shock of missing an opportunity to win. But a hug can last only so long and Kim admitted that the thought of letting it get away kept crossing her mind.

“It’s just hard to kind of focus (on) what’s going on right now because I was still a little bummed (at) what happened on 18, honestly”. I don’t know, you know, sometimes things happen, and it’s kind of, you know, tough because it’s Nabisco, and hopefully I’ll have better and more chances,” said Kim.

After coming up short on her approach shot, Kim’s long birdie attempt was short. Yoo dropped her 18-foot birdie putt to walk away with the win. After finishing second behind Yani Tseng last week at the Kia Classic and winning the Nabisco championship this week Yoo’s confidence has to be higher now.

Yani Tseng, the number one women’s golfer in the world finished third at 8 under par.

G. Montgomery can be reached at sports@blackvoicenews.com

Photo by Robert Attical BVN staff photographer Taking a little Dip – Sun Young Yoo and her caddie, Adam Woodward as they take the traditional winners leap into Poppie’s Pond after her Nabisco Championship victory Sunday on the Dinah Shore course.

Photo by Robert Attical BVN staff photographer South Korea’s Sun Young Yoo posses with the trophy after winning the Nabisco Championship on Sunday at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.

The Answer to Unemployment

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By Gary L. Flowers

Last week, Congressman John Conyers (MI), Ranking Member of the United States House Judiciary Committee introduced much-needed legislation entitled, “The Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act.” The bill number for the Act is House Resolution 4277/870. Congressman Conyers’ Act directly addresses American’s need to work and our current economic crisis, but also embodies the spirit of the original Humphrey-Hawkins “Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act” of 1978.

In short, the Act would tax stock and bond trades on Wall Street to finance a fund to create jobs for the jobless.

The “Full Employment and Training Trust Fund” would create two accounts to directly fund job creation and training programs. Monies taxed from Wall Street transactions would be distributed to each account, with 67% of revenues deposited in the job-creation account, and 33% going to the job-training account.

First, job-creation funds would be allocated based on the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) formula, modified to consider unemployment data. The U.S. Department of Labor would collaborate with local elected officials, labor officials, and community groups, who are closest to the needs of our communities on the ground, to identify workers for each project. Americans in need of a job would work on construction projects, renovating school buildings, weatherizing homes, neighborhood beautification, expanding access to broadband and wireless Internet, and other jobs. The program would be open to those who are unemployed for at least 26 weeks, or low-income individuals who have been unemployed for at least 30 days. New jobs would include: • Up to 30 hours per week
• Pay prevailing wages, averaging $12-15 per hour, with benefits Appropriate safeguards and strong anti-displacement protections would help to prevent substitution and ensure that workers are placed in jobs.

Secondly, funds would be distributed to existing programs covered under The Workforce Investment Act for job-training programs, including 1-Stop Job Training Programs and the Job Corps. Each account would be established through a tax on Wall Street financial speculation such as stock and bond trades. The financial transactions tax would cover: • Tax rate on each transaction would be ¼ of one percent—0.25%
• Tax rate for Futures Contracts to buy/sell specified commodities at market prices would by 0.02%
• Tax rate for Swaps of financial instruments between two firms—0.02%
• Tax rate for Credit Default Swaps where a contract is swapped through a series of payments in exchange for a payoff if credit instrument (loans) goes into default—0.02%
• And contracts between a buyer and a seller that gives buyer the right to buy/sell asset on or before expiration date (Options) at an agreed price

All evidence for America’s current poor economy points to un-regulated and un-enforced laws of the greedy, which disproportionately affected the needy. Therefore, Congressman Conyers’ legislation is needed now to put America back to work.

We should all contact our Congressional representatives to support H.R. 4277/870.

Gary L. Flowers is the Executive Director & CEO of the Black Leadership Forum, Inc.

Samaritan’s Feet “Cover and Protect”

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On Sunday, March 25, 2012, in the gymnasium of the Kansas Ave. SDA Church, located on the corner of Kansas Ave and Martin Luther King Blvd., hundreds of new pairs of shoes and socks were given an assignment: “Cover and Protect a pair of freshly washed feet.”

At the same time, in the parking lot just outside the gym, over 320 people lined up to receive a pair of these brand new shoes and socks. Many of the people were there several hours in advance. The “Samaritan's Feet” organization, partnered with the Men Of Kansas Avenue (MOKA) for the second year in a row, to provide this welcomed service to members of the local community. Although the weather outside was drizzly and overcast, no one seemed to mind, because the atmosphere inside the building that day, was quite inviting.

The guests were greeted warmly and waited just a short while to be seated. They were then given the opportunity to have their feet washed and dried. Then a new pair of socks and a new pair of shoes were given the opportunity to accept the mission to “cover and protect” as they were placed on the feet of the grateful guests. Conversations between the volunteers and the guests were lively and heartwarming. Smiles broke out and eyes filled with tears of joy and gratitude. The volunteers prayed with the guests. Little children, teenagers, parents and grandparents alike, received shoes, socks, encouragement and prayer. As they left, each guest was offered freshly baked, chocolate-chip cookies.

Many organizations contributed to making it a wonderful day, including: Trinity Housing, which helped with the purchase of grocery gift cards, McKay's Family Mortuary who assisted with the purchase of the shoes, along with the Kansas Avenue Resource Center, and over 40 volunteers from the host church, Kansas Avenue, which included Robert Harris and his group from the Adventures Club. Members of the Mt. Rubidoux SDA church came to help out, as well as Woody Rucker-Hughes of the Riverside School District.

Many of the guests also received free medical attention and treatment at the medical van provided by “Health in Motion”, so a special “Thank You” goes out to The Kansas Ave. Resource Center and Nirma Usher. Finally, Paul Arceneaux of MOKA, along with Royal and Sandra Watson of “Samaritan's Feet” are to be congratulated. Their hard work and tireless efforts paid off. It was a wonderful experience.

A good time was had by all, and in the end, over 320 pairs of shoes and socks were given freshly washed feet to cover and protect.

Arco AmPm Grand Opening

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Location is a key element when opening a business. And for business owner Meenu Sandhu, when opening her second brand value gasoline station, she currently owns a Chevron in Thousand Oaks, she chose to become a franchisee with Arco AmPm constructing a 2,000 sq. ft. convenience store off the busy 101 Freeway. Sandhu is the first female owner of an Arco AmPm in the area.

This weekend will mark the grand opening of the fruits of Sandhu’s labor as she invites the community to celebrate with her on Friday and Saturday, April 6th and 7th beginning at 11 a.m. Sandhu states that the Laker girls will perform both days, Bank of America will be offering debit cards, Monster and Pepsi representatives will be on hand, as well as a live DJ, clown, and face painting will be offered.

Sandhu states that Arco AmPm provides great franchise support. “There’s a system already in place to run multiple locations,” she said. “It’s a value branded gasoline that’s affordable,” she continued.

Arco AmPm is located at 2305 Borchard Rd., Newbury Park. Arco AmPm Gas station is open 24 hours with convenience store, food, handicap access, RV access, propane, ATM, and bathroom.

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