Last Friday, President Obama reminded the country how personal Trayvon Martin’s death feels to any parent of a Black child. He said, “You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”1
There is no doubt that Trayvon — a 17-year-old boy armed only with Skittles and iced tea — was considered “suspicious” and subsequently killed because of the color of his skin. But many on the right — including presidential candidates Rick Santorum2 and Newt Gingrich3 — want to avoid acknowledging the clear role that race and stereotypes played in this case.Instead, they’re attacking the President for telling the truth, and they’re trying to push race out of the picture.
We have reached a critical moment. Americans of all walks of life are talking openly and honestly about racial profiling, targeting and the dehumanization of Black boys and men. We can’t stand by while politicians who claim to want to lead all Americans play dumb and deny the racial realities surrounding Trayvon’s death.
Please join us in calling on the Republican National Committee — which leads the party and coordinates the GOP’s election strategy — to withhold its support from any candidate who uses Trayvon Martin’s killing to divide Americans and distort honest conversations about race for political gain. If the RNC refuses, it will send a clear message about the GOP’s willingness to lead on the most critical issues facing all Americans. Click here to take action, and please ask your friends and family to do the same:
Trayvon’s death had everything to do with what he looked like. But some conservatives are determined to deny the reality of racial prejudice in America and the mortal threat it poses.
It’s no great surprise that right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh responded to President Obama’s comments last week by saying, “It is the least important thing, what the kid looks like.”4But Americans have reason to expect better from the GOP’s presidential candidates, men who claim to be able to represent all of us.
Rick Santorum accused the President of trying to “drive a wedge in America.”5 Newt Gingrich lashed out with: “What the president said, in a sense, is disgraceful. It’s not a question of who that young man looked like.”6
The Republican National Committee, chaired by Reince Priebus, has the power to reign in cynical, dishonest comments like these. The RNC develops and promotes the Republican political platform and coordinates its fundraising and election strategy.
Please join us in calling on the RNC to withhold its support from any GOP candidate who responds to Trayvon Martin’s killing by sweeping its race-related realities under the rug.If the RNC refuses, it will send a clear message about the party’s willingness to lead on the most critical issues facing Americans. And when you sign, please ask your friends and family to do the same.
Thanks and Peace,
— Rashad, Gabriel, Dani, Matt, Natasha, Kim and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
March 29th, 2012
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1. “Obama Speaks Out on Trayvon Martin Killing,” The New York Times, 03-23-12
2. “Plouffe calls out GOP candidates over Obama reaction,” CNN.com, 03-25-12
3. “Newt Gingrich: Obama’s Trayvon Martin Statement ‘Disgraceful’,” Huffington Post, 03-23-12
4. “Rush Limbaugh hits Obama: Trayvon Martin not a race case,” Politico, 03-26-12
5. See reference 2
6. See reference 3
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