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Trayvon Martin’s father hopes something positive will result from his son’s death

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By Deborah Zabarenko

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The racially charged shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was the focus of a congressional hearing on Wednesday, where Martin’s father vowed to find a way his son’s death could lead to positive changes for other black American men.

“We won’t let this verdict sum up who Trayvon was,” Tracy Martin told a packed hearing of the new Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys.

“A lot of people say nothing positive can come out of death, but I disagree wholeheartedly, because what we can do tomorrow as a nation, as a people to stop someone else’s child from being killed is certainly a positive,” Martin said.

Unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida, in February 2012 by 29-year-old George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who is white and Hispanic, in a case that sparked public debate about racial profiling and Stand Your Ground laws that permit the use of deadly force in self-defense.

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Zimmerman’s acquittal on charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter on July 13 prompted demonstrations across the United States and an extraordinary statement of concern by President Barack Obama.

Federal prosecutors say they are investigating whether Zimmerman violated civil rights laws. But legal experts have said they think new charges are unlikely.

The Martin family has also called for reform of Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law, which permits the use of deadly force rather than retreating, when a person has a reasonable fear of serious bodily injury.

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“They need to make an amendment that says you can’t get out of your vehicle, pursue someone and become confrontational,” Tracy Martin told Reuters at a rally last weekend.

On Wednesday Martin praised Obama’s comments on the case, in which the president said he himself might have been like Trayvon Martin 35 years ago.

“The most influential man on the planet is weighing in from an African American perspective and just to have the president of the United States comment on our situation really touched me,” Martin said.

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Martin was flanked by prominent African-American men who testified about their own experiences growing up, including David Johns, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellences for African Americans, Michael Eric Dyson, professor of sociology at Georgetown University, and Kweisi Mfume, a former congressman and president of the NAACP.

“All black people live under suspicion,” Dyson told the hearing, eliciting nods around the chamber.

(Editing by David Adams and Ken Wills)


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Here’s the ugly racist history behind tipping — and how it still persists today

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On Saturday, writing for Politico, minister and civil rights activist Rev. Dr. William Barber applauded House Democrats' plans to not only raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024, but eliminate the much lower "tipped wage" of $2.13 an hour and require tipped workers to also be paid at least the minimum.

This is important, wrote Barber, because the roots of businesses forcing their workers to rely on tips for a proper wage is deeply rooted in America's history of racial tension.

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Black GOP strategist called on the carpet by Joy Reid for trying to sidestep Trump’s racist rally as ’empowering’ voters

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An "AM Joy" panel on MSNBC descended into talking over each other as host Joy Reid confronted a black GOP consultant over Donald Trump's racist rally in North Carolina.

Presenting the conservative point of view, Republican strategist Lenny McAllister was asked point-blank by the host, "Lenny, hold on a second, because you as a man of color yourself -- do you feel comfortable in a party that does rallies like that?"

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Dershowitz and Trump should both be worried what Jeffrey Epstein will reveal when he looks to cut a deal: ex-prosecutor

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On Saturday, Georgetown Law professor and former federal prosecutor Paul Butler discussed the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking case with MSNBC's Joy Reid, and the conversation turned to Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz's increasingly furious battle with David Boies, a prominent lawyer representing some of Epstein's alleged victims. Dershowitz has been accused by one of the women of also abusing her at one of Epstein's parties, a claim he categorically denies.

"I've had sex with one woman since the day I met Jeffrey Epstein," said Dershowitz in a Fox News clip Reid played for her viewers. "I challenge David Boies to say under oath that he's only had sex with one woman during that same period of time, he couldn't do it. So he has an enormous amount of chutzpah to attack me and to challenge my perfect, perfect sex life during the relevant period of time."

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