New Black Panther Party for Self Defense sparks new “Civil Rights Movement”
Photo By: Kofi Taharka
The march for justice is on and the unified call is out for the African-American community to stand up and proclaim from housetops and city streets, “Enough is Enough!!!
The tragic killings of Alfred Wright, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride and Trayvon Martin indicate that the time is now to stand up, speak out, unite and demand real justice and legislation across this country that protects the futures of African-American babies and youth.
“It is open season on Black people and its appears some are being allowed to hunt and shoot us down like dogs,” said Krystal Muhammad, National Chair of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. “History is repeating itself and the only way can stop the madness of these random slaughters is to wake up, open our eyes and put the pressure on until we get results.”
The call is for all Black community, religious, social and political organizations to join in developing a tidal wave of solidarity demanding complete justice and equality and providing the kind of positive momentum that will not only sweep state houses across the United States, but also take the Capital and White House by storm.
That trumpet will be sounded loud May 5 on the National Justice and Equality Day in Washington, D.C. Leading up to that event, freedom fighters are continuing to protest and marches in March and April in support of the Alfred Wright family in Sabine County and Hemphill, Texas.
Muhammad said the initiative is part of a new movement born out of the current epidemic of unjust verdicts coming out of courtrooms across the country and the rash of police shootings and neighborhood shootings and killings of unarmed African-American men and youth are being gunned down or killed at an alarming rate.
“We are at a point in history where Black people must come off the sidelines,” she said. “We need justice and freedom and that will only happen when we give some time and energy to the movement.”
Driving the need for a new movement sad stories being told across the country about Black youth losing their lives without justice being served. Cases drawing national attention point to the need to shake things up from here to the White House, some of them include:
Alfred Wright, a 28-year old black man from Jasper. According to reports, in November, Wright, a physical therapist, was on his way to treat a patient when his truck broke down near a convenience store just outside of Hemphill. He called his wife for help and when his parents showed up, they only saw his parked truck. He was missing.
The Sabine County Sheriff’s Office conducted a search, but it was called off after four days. The family could not believe deputies ended the search so soon and continued the search on their own. The family questions how hard deputies looked. For the next two and a half weeks the search continued until Wright’s friends and family members located his body lying face down in the woods about a mile and a half from the convenience store where his truck broke down.
The mysterious disappearance and events surrounding his death continues, especially after as a toxicology report found drugs in Wright’s body and the Sabine County Sheriff Department ruled it an overdose – Wright was not a drug user. Also, medical evidence has been revealed that his body was found with his throat slit, his face pulled off, his eye taken out, his ear cut off, his tongue cut out and his teeth pulled out.
Family members believe he was brutally tortured and murdered and the real truth is being covered up. The investigation is now in the hands of the U.S. Justice Department.
Hemphill is about 35 miles north of Jasper and infamous for being the site of the 1998 hate crime murder of James Byrd Jr., who was dragged to death by a group of White men.
Another case is in Florida and involves Jordan Davis, who would have been 19 now if he lived.
The Black teen was killed in 2012 while sitting in a car with his friends outside a Jacksonville, Florida convenience store, listening to music. That music was too loud for Michael Dunn. Following an argument over the volume, the 45-year-old man fired his gun into the carful of teenagers, killing Davis. Dunn told his fiancee the teens were playing “thug music.”
The case was tried and despite damning evidence against Dunn, the trial ended in a mistrial on the first-degree murder charge for shooting Davis. However, the jury found Dunn guilty of attempted second-degree murder and a count of firing into an occupied car.
Another case happened in a Detroit suburb. Last November, 19-year old Renisha McBride got into an early morning car crash.
According to police report, it is alleged the woman may have been disoriented following the crash. She apparently sought help at the home of Theodore Paul Wafer, 54, a White man. Wafer allegedly shot the 19-year-old as she stood on his front porch trying to get help. McBride was unarmed, and there is no evidence that McBride attempted to break in. Still, Wafer fired his weapon from behind a closed, locked screen door. He later claimed the shooting was accidental. After pressure from the dead woman’s family, the homeowner was charged with manslaughter.
In Sanford, Fla., Trayvon Martin was an unarmed, 16-year-old who was killed by a neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman as he walked to his father’s home in a gated community. Zimmerman admitted to shooting and killing him, but was not initially arrested or charged. After nearly six weeks and considerable public outcry, prosecutors charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder in the case and was later acquitted.
Muhammad and other civil rights leaders across the country are calling for more sweeping action and changes or abolishment of the so-called “Stand Your Ground” self-defense laws.
Dunn also used the “Stand Your Ground” defense to justify shooting Davis.
“We are dealing with a mindset and it will not stop until people who love justice and righteousness stand up to make sure justice is served and Black people and the Black community is respected,” said Kofi Taharka, leader of the National Black United Front, Houston Chapter and who supports the movement of freedom fighters for justice and equality. “The system is devaluing Black life and doing what it was designed to do and that is to contain, weaken, control and oppress Blacks, Latinos and the poor. We must move now to change it.”
The last great movement that spun victory for African-Americans was the initial Civil Rights Movement. Those were people who were truly “tired of being sick and tired” of how they were being treated like second-class citizens.
During that era, Black people had to tolerate being segregated drinking from separate water fountains and using separate bathroom facilities. Blacks could not attend schools with Whites and could only enter movie theaters to sit in the balcony or enter restaurants only from back entrances.
It was a time where laws kept Black people sitting at the back of the bus and you could be killed or jailed for looking at a White woman. Blacks could not even play on the same teams with each other in sports. Blacks were intimidated at the ballot box, jailed, murdered and some lynched in the South for speaking up and demanding equality.
That movement brought us Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ida B. Wells-Barnett, John Lewis and many others with them. They took a stand and changed the attitude of a nation, Muhammad said.
It is that fire in the hearts of those men and women that started a movement that led to the birth of the great Black college student sit-ins from North Carolina to Texas, the crossing of the Edmund-Pettus Bridge, Birmingham incidents, desegregation in Arkansas and the March on Washington to name a few.
Muhammad said the need for a new push has been underlined by the tragic stories of African-Americans who are gone too soon because some in society who are fighting to turn the clock back towards slavery and once again control and intimidate the African-American will.
Much of that is evident with legislation that works against African-American communities, the attitude towards African-American criminal cases in the judicial system and what happens when a cop or White citizen decides to take the life of an African-American youth.
“Alfred Wright, Jordan (Davis), Travon (Martin) are the Emmett Tills of this generation,” Muhammad said. “This is our time to make a difference now and impact generations for years to come.”