After The Zimmerman Verdict… Now What?

The jury in the George Zimmerman murder trial found Zimmerman not guilty in the death of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman, who faced the possibility of life in prison, showed no reaction to the jury’s verdict. But there were reactions around the nation.

I found out about the verdict via Twitter… I thought it was a prank, a twitter joke (like the fake deaths of celebrities). I knew this could not be real. Then I saw the news articles… Headlines tattered with “Not Guilty”. My thought. Wow.

This case reminded me of Emmett TIll’s murder. Maybe this would be the tipping point to begin “Free in 13” as they chanted in the past “Free in 63”. In 1955, it took the murder and kidnapping of a young black teenager to stir the country out of its apathy. Emmett Till’s death, and the subsequent acquittal of his killers, hardened the resolve of individuals and organizations who’d been fighting for a more equal America for decades. Sound familiar?

Sunday… there were nationwide marches. In Chicago groups marched downtown “Justice For Trayvon” The next weekend WVON held a rally at the Federal Plaza #Chi4Trayvon. While many argued against marches and rallying. I as the question of why not? There is energy that needs to be released. There is anger that needs to be channelled. A good leader is able to channel the anger into something possible, the leader will help point to the next steps after marching not just send people home with the anger still inside. The question in everyone’s mind is now what?

There have been solutions thrown around to boycott Florida. But isn’t this a time to revitalize the civil rights battle which so many thought was dead? This is a time to tackle the problems at the core.. To answer the questions that really matter and solve the problems that create the violence and killing. To destroy the mindset that allows people like Zimmerman to think the way he does and the reason why he killed Trayvon Martin.

It is a time to: Get ready to march on Washinton, yes, but before we get there it is a time to come to a concrete plan of what we want when we get to Washington.

We need to educate ourselves vote in the “litte elections”.

Create programs to better our youth.

Change the way media portrays us.

Get rid of shows that depict us in a negative manner (reality shows such as Love and Hip Hop stop watching!)

It is a time to put differences aside and come together and unite for a group of goals as a community.

“I am Art”

1011921_472821049472445_244156984_nThe Rainbow Push Young Adult League began the 42nd Annual International Convention opened Saturday with a thought provoking panel discussion entitled, “I AM… ART”. The intent of the discussion was to explore the impact of Hip Hop on urban inner city youth and revolved around the question, “Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art?”

1006259_475901442497739_1812197279_nFeaturing five successful members of the urban music and media industries like international music superstars, Lupe Fiasco and Waka Flocka Flame; Marketing and Recording Executive at Roc Nation, Chaka Pilgrim; Digital Managing Editor at Jet Magazine and Founder of The Kyles Files, Kyra Kyles; and Chicago State University professor, Dr. Gerrard McClendon; the panel discussion was masterfully moderated by Dr. Chandra Gill.

996806_475901419164408_1065597936_nThe auditorium was near capacity as music fans of all backgrounds and ages filled the seats for the historic discussion followed by an intense Q&A session. Audience members expressed delight at the genuinely candid dialogue, the intelligent and thoughtful responses of each panelist, and the intergenerational appeal that the event had. The recurring theme of the conversation seemed to be the responsibility of artists and labels as it pertains to the content of their music and how it influences youth culture.

995694_475901569164393_54410138_nArtists are so powerful and can use their influence to bring attention to issues that youth may otherwise not be exposed to. While many audience members may have been secretly hoping for a surprise and spontaneous concert, they did not leave disappointed. “I felt like I was watching history being made,” an audience member said after the event. “I was happy to see Rev. Jesse Jackson and Waka Flocka on the same stage. It gave me hope.”

I was able to take part in this by asking questions from social media! Super fun and great to have learned that Waka Flocka is actually not like people believe. He is very self-educated it appears. So lesson to the “wise” don’t judge a book by a song or a cd cover.

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 2.02.17 PMAlso later I was able to go on ABC news Chicago and speak about the event! Take a look at the video here.