Washington, D.C. – Members of the Project 21 black leadership network are analyzing the legal aspects of the George Zimmerman verdict and commenting on the implications:
“While I’m thrilled with this outcome, it should never have come to this. This case should never have been brought forward. The grand jury should never have been bypassed and Judge Nelson should never have allowed this case to get this far. There’s a reason the investigating officer refused to support an arrest, there’s a reason the state’s attorney refused to prosecute and there’s a reason the grand jury was bypassed. There was no substantial evidence corroborating the state’s case and a whole heck of evidence supporting Mr. Zimmerman. The rush to arrest and indict Zimmerman merely to appease the media or race-based interest groups not only jeopardized Mr. Zimmerman’s rights and liberty, but the precedent suggests that all of our rights could be infringed.”
-Cooper, the co-chairman of Project 21, is a former law professor and former congressional leadership staff member.
Darryn “Dutch” Martin
“It goes without saying that a 17-year-old child is dead, and this verdict – though just and correct in my view – will not bring him back. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones. But it needs to be understood that the case against George Zimmerman for the death of Trayvon Martin was not supposed to be about race. It was always about self-defense. Zimmerman’s defense team proved this and the jury concurred. Justice has been served. Now, let’s pray that cooler heads prevail.”
-Martin, a member of Project 21, is a former member of the American diplomatic corps.
“Despite a not guilty verdict, we must remember that George Zimmerman is not truly free. This trial will forever remain in his mind for his remaining days. Our hope should be that this trial and verdict will unite the Florida community and this country and be a healing testimony to what happens when we think the worst of one another first. In this case, it felt as if our very country were on trial for racial prejudice. The not guilty verdict should make us reflect on what it means to give the benefit of the doubt before judging harshly and deciding one’s actions are racially motivated. The final question for every community is how we can protect our youth from a system of violence and a lifestyle that nearly guarantees they will find trouble. Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin’s family and more urban Americans will hopefully use this case and verdict as an opportunity to correct that system.”
-Fritsch is a member of Project 21 as well as a tea party activist, author and talk radio host.
“Everything about the verdict can be wrapped up by considering the post-verdict comments of Zimmerman attorney Mark O’Mara. While many may feel that O’Mara’s comment about charges not being filed against Zimmerman if Zimmerman were black may seem insensitive and oblivious, his subsequent comments about the need for a civil rights discussion in regards to African-American males are timely despite his feeling it is irrelevant to this case. Those saying the value placed on an African-American male is diminished in today’s society must now ask themselves, if this is believed to be true, what is causing this phenomenon? So many in the media and entertainment industries seem to profit off perpetuating the image of the African-American male as violent and sexual animals, but this is then ignored in order to complain about overt racism that is mostly marginalized in today’s society. This gets us no closer to solving the problem at hand.”
-Newsome, a Project 21 member, is a financial expert and also the Washington representative for the Move-On-Up.Org black political organization.
“We must stop looking at issues from a racial context and stand together as one America – with God as our strength. To use a familiar phrase these days, let’s not stay ‘stuck on stupid’ and move on to heal our land. We have so much to be thankful for. For too long, people such as the NAACP’s Ben Jealous and Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have spoke out in hate and ignorance and found placement in the media. It’s time to stop the madness. We must turn the tide. If we put as much time into restoring our Constitution as we did into the Zimmerman trial, America would be a better place for all of us.”
-McClendon is a Project 21 member and tea party activist.
Project 21 was formed in 1992 when the riots following the verdict in the Rodney King case revealed a need to highlight the diversity of opinion within the black community. For over 20 years, the volunteer members of the Project 21 black leadership network have provided conservative and free-market perspectives that, until that time, were largely unknown or ignored by the establishment media.
During the course of the Zimmerman trial, which was heard in the Seminole County (Florida) Circuit Court, Project 21 members provided commentary and continue to be available for interviews about the case and the issues surrounding it. Project 21 regularly issued press releases featuring quotes from its members on the breaking news about the trial and the controversies surrounding it.
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).