I noticed that with the Trayvon Martin case, you saw our “Civil Rights Leaders“, Rev Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Alveda King (niece of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) but other than that, most of the time, you don’t really see them.  So I wondered, “How pro-active are the activists?”

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 60’s was a goal of indescribable magnitude and monumental progression but, it didn’t end there.  At least it shouldn’t have.  Things just started getting measured and/ or graded on a curve.  Anymore, activists focus on human rights and social injustice as oppose to just civil rights.  Civil rights leaders/activists commonly cover a large spectrum of social and/or political issues that effect us today.  A lot of these issues end up being about abortion or gay rights and not race relations, which is still burdening America.  These organizations or individuals are so small or poorly advertised that no one knows or follows them.  Often times they don’t even make themselves known until it’s too late.

Alveda King was seen on the O’Reilly Factor during the course of the Zimmerman trial.   Shannon Bream, subbing in for Bill O’Reilly, asked her what the black community was going to do to reach its people in order to promote change.  All Alveda could say was the message for change was being addressed in the church.  Bill O’Reilly’s initial reaction in his Talking Points segment was that something else should be done because the people who need to hear it are probably not in church.  In the end, the interview did not edify Alveda King at all.

In October 2013,  Rev. Al Sharpton leased an apartment on the west side of Chicago.  This is reminiscent of the Dr. King renting an apartment in Chicago’s west side when Chicago was the hub of the civil rights movement (Chicago Freedom Movement).  Rev. Sharpton said he’s only there to assist local activists and ministers in putting a spotlight on the gun violence issue the city faces.  What I get from that is, 650 people have to die before activists have something to say and subsequently have large conferences & television appearances pertaining to what they are doing.  I will grant you Rev. Sharpton will definitely draw people’s attention but the death toll of the previous year already garnered national media attention. There are 20 cities in the U.S. that are running rampant with violence, namely gun violence.  Why is it that something has to get that kind of coverage before there is a response?  Chicago is known to be one of the toughest cities in the U.S.

Rev. Jesse Jackson said, “Trayvon Martin defines this season. It’s the season where young black men are more likely to be jailed, profiled or unemployed or shot”, he told Here & Now.  Rev. Jackson is the President of The Rainbow PUSH Coalition. The Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC) is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international membership organization fighting for social change, which is headquartered in Chicago, Il.  Interestingly enough the people they are supposed to defend are suffering from a multitude of issues that Rev. Sharpton was made witness to during one of his conferences in Chicago last year.  These issues that were mentioned are among the issues that the PUSH Coalition identifies themselves as addressing.  I find that quite horrifying that the problem is known. It is on your target list but no action is taken until it’s too late.  The site has a gun control petition, really.  Guess what?  It is already illegal to carry a gun in Illinois unless you belong to an “Alphabet Agency”: FBI, CIA, PD, etc.  The bad guys never cared before.  What are a couple new laws going to do?

As a Leader in America regardless of what you do, you are an activator.  You start things in motion that have that activating effect.  Had these civil rights leaders been as active as they should have been, we could have avoided a lot of these issues and our society could have been farther along as a whole.  However, it seems as though our civil rights leaders are only really present when it is time to get behind the podium.  The need for civil rights leaders has not changed.  If anything, they are needed now more than ever.

Visit for more information on how you can get involved.

Onyx Contributor:  R.L. Knight

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  1. thekid7777

    January 27, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Instead of podium I would say they are only present when it’s time to get in front of a camera. Like you said, 650 people are killed in one year but where do they spend their time and energy? In Florida during the Martin/Zimmerman thing which ended up being nothing but a waste of time. But that’s where the TV cameras were so that’s where Sharpton and Jackson and other activists go. When an activist becomes famous enough they become Hollywood activists, only present when there are cameras rolling and people watching. Because if no one is there to watch them protesting why bother doing it, right?

    • EyWade

      January 27, 2014 at 11:23 am

      The thing with being an activist is that no one sees what you are doing away from the camera. How do we know what small, but major things are being handled?

      It bugs me how we put all of our problems on the backs of a few old men, don’t offer any help, and then we sit back call them names, and insult their integrity. Where are the new fighters? Where are the groups of people in the specific communities? Why aren’t they working together? In my opinion, everyone works separately for their own agenda, their own fifteen minutes in front of the camera. It takes more than five or ten little old men to make a difference.

      The Black community, especially, tries to tear down and negate the help that comes from the leaders. What use is a “leader” when there are no followers or helpers? We have a person in our city who always pops up at a sign of injustice. The negative comments are ridiculous, but without his presence we would know nothing.
      What would Jackson have down in Florida before Trayvonne’s death?
      Everything takes time and change. Laws, the repetative small ones do need changebefore the big ones can be rewritten. That “Stand Your Ground Law” is a death knoll and a free license to kill that needs changing.

      • shamrock

        January 27, 2014 at 12:50 pm

        You make some good points here about the responsibilities of activists but “stand your ground” does not give anyone free reign to kill anyone. You’re not allowed to go around killing people just because the state you live in (and there are many) has a “stand your ground” law. SYG gives people the legal basis to protect themselves. Your personal safety is your own responsibility and no one else is going to protect you but you. It is not the job of the police to protect you from becoming a victim of a crime; there are simply not enough police in the country to be able to do that. It is your responsibility to protect yourself and your family. SYG gives people legal footing to do so. As far as the Zimmerman case, SYG had no bearing on that whatsoever because it was not used by Zimmerman as his defense. Zimmerman used “self defense” as his legal defense, not SYG. SYG has absolutely nothing to do with Zimmerman/Martin.

        • EyWade

          January 27, 2014 at 3:42 pm

          I wasn’t using that law to be directed to the Martin case, but to say it is something needing change. Maybe I shouldn’t have said SYG, but included Castle, Line in the Sand, and whatever else they are called. The law is saying it “Expands a citizen’s right to use deadly force anywhere that he has a right to be if he “reasonably believes” it is necessary to stop another person from killing or hurting him badly.”
          These statues have been used as a blatant excuse to start fights and have a bases to hurt someone. Sure, everyone doesn’t win their case, but they do pull it as a safety net. This article names 34 states with this law. /

          I believe it will become harder to protect yourself when a person can start an argument, shoot you and then claim they were standing their ground.

          • thekid7777

            January 27, 2014 at 6:29 pm

            But just because someone claims SYG as their defense does not mean they are going to get away with the crime. They may think they will but that doesn’t mean they actually will. Castle laws are very good laws. Why shouldn’t I have the right to use deadly force to repel an intruder who unlawfully enters my home and threatens my family? The people who use SYG as an excuse to start fights don’t actually understand the law and those people are not going to win court cases using that defense. SYG does not protect people who throw the first punch. All SYG does is remove the obligation to retreat from an assailant. And why should any of us have to retreat from an assailant? If someone comes after you directly, looking to cause you harm why should you be required to flee when you have the means to defend yourself? You have the right to occupy that space, why should you be legally required to cede that ground to a criminal? As I said, people who use SYG as an excuse to start fights don’t actually understand the law and it does not protect those people. SYG is not the evil law people think it is, it does not give people free reign to violate the rights of others. In fact it does the exact opposite, it protects you from having to give up your rights to an assailant. I don’t want to be insulting or disrespectful but if you’re one of the many who thinks SYG laws give people free reign to kill people you should really read up on those laws and what they actually do. The current public perception is far different from the reality of these laws.

  2. EyWade

    January 28, 2014 at 9:11 am

    So, you agree with me, many don’ t get away with the “I refuse to retreat concept.”
    I totally understand the concept of the laws and their purpose. I also see, read, hear, how people are interpreting them. Shooting first and paying later. Too late when innocent people are already dead. Of course there are misconceptions. People are human with there own ideas.
    I never said an individual should move or run from an aggressor, I’m saying certain parts of the laws should be changed, rehashed, looked over- to make sure assailants don’t get away with killing and layingdown the law as defense.

    • thekid7777

      January 28, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      But killers are not getting away with using this law as a defense. That’s why I’m trying to tell you. They may think they can use it, but when it comes time for trial they find out it doesn’t apply to them. SYG laws are fairly straight forward. They do no protect people who start physical altercations. They do not protect people who shoot first without any real threat being present. A person cannot kill someone and then simply say “I felt threatened”, it doesn’t work that way. They have to provide justification of the threat, evidence to support their claim. If they have no evidence or solid justification then they get charged with murder like any other killer. Is this a rock solid system? No. But you have the same problem with regular “self defense” claims. Any person who kills someone can try to claim “self defense” as a defense even in states that do not have SYG laws. The overall point here is that the argument against SYG laws is misguided. People think they know how the laws work because of what they see on TV but the truth is far different. SYG do not protect killers or sanction killing and more than “self defense” clauses do.

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