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Jesse Jackson’s false sermon on Trayvon Martin

Civil rights icon Jesse Jackson took to the pulpit and the classroom in Miami to sermonize and implore African Americans to vote and to turn the death of Trayvon Martin into action.

“There are lessons in this tragic matter of Trayvon Martin’s death,” Jackson said at 93rd Street Community Baptist Church on Sunday. “It defines white and black in this season -- that racism is alive and doing much too well.”

So are half-truths and distortions – if Jackson’s speech is any measure.

After mentioning the deaths and martyrdom of black activists and youths, Jackson brought up Trayvon’s death Feb. 26 at the hands of neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, who claimed he was acting in self defense when he shot the unarmed teen in a Sanford gated community.

Jackson pointed out that Trayvon was from Miami Gardens. And he wondered why the teen was all the way in Central Florida staying with his father.

“How did he leave Miami?” Jackson asked, “cause he was suspended from school on some trivial notion that there was some marijuana dust in a bag. If that’s the case -- a child’s about to step in the wrong direction -- you call his mother. You say, ‘mother we need to have a meeting. Your son’s about to make a wrong step.’ And you convene him and his mama in the principal’s office. You don’t throw him away…..Ten day suspension for marijuana dust?”

The following day, at Miami Central, Jackson repeated the line – although he noted “that’s a mistake to have marijuana in a bag.”

If Jackson’s story of the suspension were the whole truth, it might be an outrage (assuming you don’t believe in zero-tolerance for drugs at a public school). But it’s not the whole truth anyway.

As the Miami Herald first reported, Trayvon Martin wasn’t just suspended in February for having marijuana residue. A police report showed he also had a “marijuana pipe.”

And it wasn’t just his first disciplinary incident. It was his third and final. He had been suspended before that for repeated tardiness. And Trayvon also was busted in October when he was spotted marking up a door with “WTF.” A subsequent search of his bag showed he had 12 pieces of jewelry, a watch and a large flathead screwdriver

“It’s not mine. A friend gave it to me,” he told a school resource officer, declining to name the friend.

Whether that’s evidence of burglary or not, it’s clear there’s more than just marijuana residue at issue here. Trayvon didn’t deserve to be shot. But the evidence shows he deserved to be suspended.

Not only is Jackson lacking a grip on the facts of the suspension, he seems to think that schools have the time, money and staff to nurture every kid and give him more than three at-bats without a suspension.

“They threw him away in Miami,” Jackson said. “He was suspended out of school before he was killed -- not because he had a gun or some act of violence – (but because of) some rule that does not lend itself to developing our children in their formative years.”

An opponent of handguns, Jackson also took aim at the much-reviled Stand Your Ground law that gives citizens the right to use deadly force in public if they feel reasonably threatened.

Zimmerman is seeking protection under the law. He initially wasn’t charged because of Stand Your Ground.

Those are facts.

But what we don’t know is what was in Zimmerman’s mind when he apparently pursued and shot Trayvon. Jackson, however, suggested that Zimmerman was almost inspired by the Stand Your Ground.

“Here was a man who was on the loose with a semi-automatic weapon, who felt empowered by some fuzzy state law to pursue and profile and kill somebody,” Jackson said.

Considering the lack of clear evidence into Zimmerman’s state of mind, that comment is debatable and certainly inflammatory. That’s a problem – even by Jackson’s own standards. He wants more racial unity, but he’s pouring gasoline on a racially tinged forest fire.

“Since you’ve had on the books these Stand Your Ground laws,” Jackson said, “homicides have increased three fold.”


The Uniform Crime Report Statistics for 2011 just came out and show that, Stand Your Ground was passed in 2005, homicides in Florida have increased 12 percent – not 300 percent – to 985. And, in some ways, that increase is misleading because 2005 was an abnormally low year for homicides (we were recovering from eight hurricanes in 13 months). The 40-year annual average for homicides in Florida is 1,110 and this year’s murders and murder rate are lower than each of the previous five years. Meantime, violent crime is down 22 percent from 2005-2011.

Jackson probably meant to say that “justifiable homicides” have increased three fold (from 12 to 36).

But omitting that one word -- “justifiable” -- makes a big difference. And omitting entire facts makes an even bigger difference.


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Susan S

This is an outrageous column. Why don't you do some research into zero tolerance policies and their impact on African American males? That might be a real story.




"Stand Your Ground law that gives citizens the right to use deadly force in public if they feel reasonably threatened."

As does every other single self-defense law in every single state in the US. The SYG standard is no different. It is the same as the standard that has been upheld in over a dozen state and federal supreme court rulings going back over 100 years, the most significant being Brown v. US, which specifically upheld SYG in public as the common law standard for the US.

And even saying that "justifiable" homicides have tripled since the law was passed is misleading if taken out of context. Justifiable police shootings have tripled in that same time period, which has nothing to do with SYG, since it doesn't cover police shootings. And it also indicates that the rise is due to increased criminal aggressiveness, not an increase in "vigilantism". Also, when statistics are analyzed from before the law was passed, one sees that if you include killings that were charged as crimes but were ruled in court to be justified, as opposed to just those that were never charged because they were justified, the number more than doubles. So it appears that SYG is actually working exactly the way it was intended - it is reducing the number of self-defense shootings that were previously erroneously being charged as crimes, wasting huge amounts of tax money and court resources and destroying the lives of innocent crime victims, and is also allowing law-abiding citizens to defend themselves against increasingly aggressive criminals, just as the police are having to.


Finally, a Herald column that told the truth. It has been a long time coming.

Tom Stedham

Great column~!

roderick anderson

March 20: Florida Rep. Dennis Baxley, who sponsored the "stand your ground" law in 2005, says nothing in it allows people to "pursue and confront." The law allows people to use deadly force to defend themselves anywhere they feel a reasonable fear of death or serious injury. The Justice Department sends representation to Sanford to investigate and "to address tension in the community."

as reported by cnn


Did the idiot that published this even bother watching the news and media over this? Zimmerman clearly profiled Trayvon Martin - for being black and wearing a hoodie. It seems to me that the Miami Herald staff members only watch Fox News, and even they showed the phone calls of Zimmerman.

Jan Smith

Manbearpig,You should check your facts. Even the prosecutors in the case say race wasn't a factor. I know that's not what most blacks want to hear but too bad. Blame Sharpton, Jackson, The Martin family and the media for spreading half truths and lies.


ManBearPig doesnt know a man from a pig. Reuters had a great article explaining the number of break ins happening in the community in which even African American residents described black youths doing the break ins. Even with that information, Zimmerman's tape was edited by nbc to make it sound like he profiled when he didnt. It was a tragedy, it is sad, but it should have stayed in that city as another regular crime. Statistically, more black people die in the hands of black people than white.


Racism is alive and prospering in all of Florida not just Sanford and all of the USA.


Yes mr dwatson, you are right. Thanks to Jesse Jackson et al.


There isn't a school in America that wouldn't have suspended him for the marijuana. EVERY WHITEBOY who got caught with weed at my high school got suspended, some even expelled.

For Jesse Jackson to complain about this is purely playing the race card.


Thanks for a good article. So many of us are sick of the lies and half-truths put out by the Martin family and their retinue. Martin wasn't the "Angel" that they and Jesse Jackson et al are making him out to be. The stream of filth that can be found on his Twitter account is repulsive by any standards of decency. It is clear neither of his parents were involved in his upbringing or monitoring him, otherwise it would have been reflected in how he (Martin) chose to present himself to the world.

People are fed up with the race card being used time and time again to excuse away the most inexcusable behavior and choices.


Jackson fails to appreciate that it is not the job of schools to "develop" young people. It is the job of the PARENTS.

IMO one of the reasons Sybrina Fulton is so eager to stay out on the national media trail is it allows her to avoid looking into a mirror.


Re: inflammatory photos
This entire case has been biased from the beginning, with pertinent facts being surreptitiously omitted in order to inflame the public's opinion towards 'taking' sides. The initial photo of Trayvon was meant to garner sympathy from viewers seeing him as this sweet innocence child, gunned down by this older, menacing looking white racist. Now a different image has emerged of Trayvon, as this street wised not-so-innocent 17 year old, and supporters want viewers to believe these photos are doctored. Both supporters for Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman seek to present in a favorable light, considering the fact both images have been portrayed negatively. Fact supporters for Martin have dubiously circumvented. While Martin's death is a tragedy, there are numerous misguided individuals eager to sidestep and omit facts in this case. Firstly, I have a problem with Trayvon doubling back and viciously attacking Zimmerman, when he had a clear path to his father's finance's house. Likewise, why hasn't the facts been mentioned to why Zimmerman had been 'profiling' Trayvon in the first place. Over the past 14 months there had been a rash of break-ins, 8, which had been committed by black males. So why has this been played down, which clearly shows the only racial motive here, is that Zimmerman profiled Martin, because he didn't recognize him as a regular tenant. Thus, he thought he could be a would-be criminal, because of the previous incidents, involving black males. Certainly, Zimmerman was wrong, but his following him didn't in any way constitute 'racism', the typical racist antics blacks have had to endure for over decades. Another element left out, this residential community comprised of whites, blacks and Hispanics, which several blacks stated under anonymity they understood why Zimmerman profiled Martin because of the previous incidents.
For some it doesn’t matter what the truth unveils, because they blindly see what they want to see, to whatever suits their agenda. For instance charging Zimmerman with second-degree murder, when if the D.A. was going to bring charges it should have been for manslaughter, check out the case involving Marissa Alexander she was charged by Angela Corey for attempted murder. A case that should have never been brought to court, or charged in the first place, considering the circumstances and evidence, of spousal abuse, in which she fired a gun into the ceiling in order to scare her husband. He wasn’t hurt, but she was charged. She’s black and so is her spouse, so why not the uproar over this injustice. Black on black crime is more menacing, devastating and detrimental to the lives of young black males than this isolated tragic incident. I live in a predominately black neighborhood, which this type crime is underreported, under-outraged and under-attention getter.

Louis Calabro

The following comments are simply my opinion about the political use of this tragic happening. Please give it some serious attention, Thank you. Louis Calabro ********************************************************************************************************************************************************

The Trayvon Martin case is just one more example of the African American community creating a distraction from the thousands upon thousands of black on white crimes that are committed each year in America.

Please look at the Christian Channon and Christopher Newsom trial that will be beginning June 6, 2012 in Knoxville, TN.

Five blacks kidnapped Channon and Newsom. They sodomized Newsom, murdered and then burned his body. They raped, tortured Channon and murdered her---and poured bleach all over her to destroy their DNA.

We know, all over America about Trayvon Martin, and maybe we should, but we do we know about Channon and Newsom. Why is that????


It is peculiar how the writer complains Jackson was "pouring gasoline on a racially tinged forest fire", when Jackson clearly SAID NOTHING about race. Even in the paragraph, the writer quoted Jackson as follows:

“Here was a man who was on the loose with a semi-automatic weapon, who felt empowered by some fuzzy state law to pursue and profile and kill somebody...”

QUESTION: Where in there did Jesse Jackson say ANYTHING about race there?



It seems that people are fed up with the idea that whites (or any other "non-minority) don't have the right to defend themselves from vicious assaults by blacks. A man was dragged from his car and beaten with HAMMERS by two wanna-be "Trayvons" in Sanford just days after Jackson et al pimped this story to the National Media.

Enough is enough. This tolerance of lawlessness from the black community and culture of retaliation has.to.end.



@NYTN: Jackson referenced "profiling" which injected race into it.

Stop being so disingenuous and dishonest. It seems that there are many in the black community who now want to walk back their lies and their race-baiting, but Jackson and Crump want to charge full throttle and continue to fan the flames of resentment and collective retribution.

Paul N

Mr. Calabro, that is nonsense.

Please prove that point. If you have never been black you cannot speak for all black people. You should be ashamed of yourself to talk such tripe. As if all black people are morons who cannot understand that the violence is real and wrong, regardless of skin color.

We know about Trayvon Martin for one reason only, they did not arrest Zimmerman. Make stuff up all you want but had Zimmerman been arrested, this would not have happened.

While we talk about crimes that are not reported, why is that you hardly see the media focus on a case of a missing black Child.

Your self righteousness is sickening. Shame on you!

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2012/04/jesse-jacksons-false-sermon-on-trayvon-martin.html#storylink=cpy


We know about Martin for several reasons.
The Martin family retained a race-hustling shakedown artist for an attorney. Those attorneys then went and hired a PR guy, Ryan Julison, who then went and tried to pitch the story to the national media - no sale.

It wasn't until Julison, Crump et al conspired with some media outlets to release a disingenuously edited version of the 9-11 call making this seem like a racially motivated incident, added to the inflammatory racial language employed by Sharpton on his cable show that we *FINALLY* heard about the case.

CNN, NBC and ABC have all walked back their outrageous lies and malfeasance (edited 9-11 call, edited videotape claiming no injuries to Zimmerman) but the damage was already done.

People are getting seriously injured because of what the Martin family started.


Ask hypocritical jesse about his connections with El rukn
or the black p stones. All of his dealings with that murderous group, who his brother was a part of.
All he cares about is hisselve!!


My family is,humiliated to be of the same race as jesse.
Nothing ever changes with him. Always in the spotlight for himselve and no feelings for the black community whatsoever. He is a treacherous, backstabbing, doubledealing,politician who puts all the whites to shame with his racism of the black race. He should start preparing for eternity and see if can con his way into heaven, cause hes sure gonna need it!!!! He makes us all look bad. Im suprised no one has taken it upon them self to put an end to his disgrace of a life!! Politically speaking.


“Here was a man who was on the loose with a semi-automatic weapon, who felt empowered by some fuzzy state law to pursue and profile and kill somebody...”

QUESTION: Where in there did Jesse Jackson say ANYTHING about race there?

IRRITATING INDEED, specially when in the quotes YOU are using it says clearly PROFILE. HE clearly uses the word profile as racism. Please do all of us a favor and educate yourself.


If my white son got caught doing what this young man got caught doing he would be suspended in the same manner that this boy did. I fail to see the race issue here. JJ is mixing up racial tension using slight of hand tricks. I know that racism still exist but it is not nearly as wide spread as some people want to believe. I believe that most people are good solid hard working people but in every community there are people that are racist. I have ran into my share of racist Latino and Blacks in my life time but for the most part I believe that most people are good and refuse to judge a entire community by a few bad apples.

I do not believe the boy should have been shot but at the same time I feel that instead of blaming the schools for any part of this situation why is JJ not asking where where his parents while all these incidents where happening.

Bad behavior starts at home and to often people push that failure off on others in this case the Race card was pulled out and as the reason this boy was lost to the world. When in reality the truth is he was not the 14 year old gentle soul that the press has presented. He was a troubled youth that his parents needed to take responsibility for and in failing to do so most likely helped cost him his life.

I do pray for his family no one should have to loose a child no mater what the circumstances.

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