In the News
The Links, Incorporated Stands with those Seeking Individual Justice and Collective Healing in the Tragic Death of Unarmed Teenager Trayvon Martin
WASHINGTON D.C. (April 2, 2012) – The Links, Incorporated joins hands and hearts with the Martin family and with those who are concerned about the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. As an organization with a membership of more than 12,000 professional African-American women and women of African descent, in existence for 65 years, this sad occasion demands our attention. We have therefore voiced our concerns in a letter to the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder; the Governor of Florida, Rick Scott; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dean Cannon; and the Florida State Attorney, Norm Wilfinger.
“Grave questions have been raised by this killing and by the legal and judicial response to the loss of life. This, in a climate where at least one national figure has cited the wearing of a hoodie by young men of color as dangerous and provocative acts,” said Margot James Copeland, national president.
Specifically, The Links position is that we are relieved that the investigation into the shooting death is no longer in the hands of local law enforcement but we are troubled that public outrage was required to ensure a constitutionally guaranteed thorough review. As troubling are police arrest videos that raise questions about assertions that Trayvon injured his assailant, prompting a self-defense; and reports that media leaks of the teen’s school records and other details of the child’s life may have emanated from the very police force that conducted that initial swift investigation.
We also note the disturbing media reports of a possible racial utterance by the shooter, said to have been captured on his 911 call, before that tragic moment. We are grateful that the United States Department of Justice is also looking at possible civil rights violations and that a Seminole County grand jury will convene April 10.
Our concerns also include whether the “Stand Your Ground” law is being applied correctly in the Martin case, when the Republican state representative who wrote the law says the legislative intent of the “Castle Doctrine,” was to protect a person in their home.
More generally, we are concerned about police and prosecutors’ interpretations of “Stand Your Ground” laws across the nation. We believe it is time for a national re-examination of whether this doctrine, ignited by the ever present issues of race and vigilantism, constitute a flawed policy to curb crime that will continue to lead to unintended consequences - and will surely lead to even more needless deaths.
We join with those who seek justice, and with the African-American community, in this national dialogue on the safety of our children and on a number of other pressing issues surrounding youth, the justice system and racial bias. In doing so, we urge our membership to add their names to the NAACP’s online letter to Florida Prosecutor Angela Corey, and to urge their friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and church members to support this call for justice as well. The letter is at http://action.naacp.org/page/s/trayvon-letter. A link to that letter will be provided on the official Facebook page of The Links, Incorporated.
THE LINKS, INCORPORATED
The Links, Incorporated celebrates 65 years as a women's volunteer service organization committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the cultural and economic survival of African-Americans and other persons of African-American ancestry. A premier international service organization with more than 12,000 members in 274 chapters located in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, its legacy of friends providing service that changes lives, established by the original circle of nine friends in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1946, is alive and well.
The members of The Links, Incorporated are influential decision makers and opinion leaders. The Links, Incorporated has attracted many distinguished women who are individual achievers and have made a difference in their communities and the world. They are business and civic leaders, role models, mentors, activists and volunteers who work towards a common vision by engaging like-minded organizations and individuals for partnership.
With over 2 million service hours recorded in the past three years, members regularly contribute more than 500,000 documented service hours in their respective communities annually. For more information, visit www.linksinc.org.