Conservative Black Leaders Call for Calm Amid Trayvon Martin Protests

Trayvon Martin RalliesRallies for Trayvon Martin took place across the nation over the weekend to protest the George Zimmerman not guilty verdict last week. As thousands gathered in more than 100 cities, black activists called for calm. 

Members of the civil rights lobby organized nationwide protests demanding justice for Trayvon Martin pushing for federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman, the volunteer security guard who shot the seventeen-year-old youth. In the wake of earlier destructive protests and violent acts perpetrated against innocent bystanders and businesses in the alleged name of justice, Bob Parks, national spokesperson for Project 21 black leadership network and senior video producer for the Media Research Center encouraged organizers to tone down their rhetoric.

“I think any reasonable person at this point in time would be calling for calm,” said Bob Parks, national spokesperson for Project 21 black leadership network and senior video producer for the Media Research Center. “It is unfortunate that the people who are running these so-called protests because I don’t know if their motives are really for calm based on their past actions especially for people like Al Sharpton.”

Members of the Project 21 black leadership network consider the protests to be “misplaced anger” and call upon the likes of liberal black activists Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to a higher standard of leadership. For example Parks notes, the black lobby should address Los Angeles rioters this past week attacked a Wal-Mart and other community businesses in the Crenshaw community. In Baltimore, a man was chased and beaten by a gang of people who yelled, "This is for Trayvon" as the victim was punched and kicked. And in Houston, protestors who stopped traffic were caught on video assaulting a woman trying to avoid their blockade to transport her sick granddaughter to a nearby hospital.

“The verdict was anti-climatic to them,” said Parks. “They some kind of a big finish. So, you’ve got Al Sharpton out their using the megaphone of MSNBC to stoke this thing. Tell me one time in history you can remember that a newscast – that an opinion-maker in is now in the middle of the story.” Organizers of the rallies claim the protests are just the beginning of a movement.

Another member of Project 21, Lisa Fritsch, quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stating it is time to denounce the angry rhetoric of the NAACP, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson in the aftermath of the Zimmerman verdict and call for a new type of leadership.

"Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, said: 'Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.' He said this during one of America's most racially divided times. He was not debating the cruelty and injustice of hate and racism, nor denying its power. He was instead speaking of the only way to overcome the stain of discrimination and hate. This is the rhetoric of true leadership."