Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Condition. Discussion »
American students are taught to stand up and put their right hands over their hearts to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and the United States of America.
The last line of the Pledge of Allegiance goes like this: " and justice for all."
Justice for all sounds comforting and idealistic, but it is hardly reality in America.
The killing of 17 year old Trayvon Martin, in Sanford, Florida by George Zimmerman, an overzealous self-appointed neighborhood captain, who remains free, is one prime example of injustice in America.
Martin innocently went to a convenience store not far from his father's finance's home in a gated community in Sanford to buy some candy and an iced tea. On his way back, Zimmerman, who after spotting Martin walking down the street called 911 to report a suspicious person in the neighborhood. Apparently, young Trayvon's black skin and black hoodie made him look like a criminal.
The 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman not to pursue Martin; indicating that the police will follow up on his report. He ignores the dispatcher and pursues Martin anyway. Minutes later, Zimmerman kills the young African American youth.
One month after Martin's death, his killer remains free with a self-defense alibi.
After a 911 tape was released to the media and with the help of social media via the Internet, there is a now a public outcry for justice. Last week the US Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division agreed to investigate the case.
Hopefully justice will ultimately be served in the Martin case. I hope so.
Dennis Banks in Solidarity
This morning I spoke with Dennis Banks, who yesterday posted a picture of himself wearing a black hoodie as a means to exemplify solidarity in the fight for justice in America. I called him to discuss episodes of injustices relating to American Indians who have killed by non-Indians.
Banks discussed the 40 year old case of Raymond Yellow Thunder, an Oglala Sioux, who in February 1972, was severely beaten by two non-Indian brothers, Leslie and Melvin Hare, in Gordon, Nebraska. After beating Yellow Thunder, they stripped him from the waist down, castrated him and then paraded Yellow Thunder before an American Legion dance. Not done yet with their evil deeds, the Hares took Yellow Man and put him into a trunk of a car and drove him around for 45 minutes before they let him go free. Once free, Yellow Thunder went to the local jail where he slept in safety for the rest of the night. The next morning, he disappeared. His dead body was found a week later.
His family went to local law enforcement and even the FBI seeking justice. There was no help given the family. There was no high interest in bringing justice.
“It was not until we the American Indian Movement got involved that anything come of the case that anything was done to those who attacked him,”
“It took the American Indian Movement getting involved before it gained national attention.”
Of course, one does not have to stay 40 years in the past when looking at injustices against American Indians. Fast-forward to today, there is a case going on in Fresno, California where justice seems to be caught in a "delay" mode.
It involves an American Indian nurse named Patty Dawson, Navajo/San Carlos Apache, who was beaten in broad daylight last June 14. On that day, Patty Dawson, who is a 43 year old nurse and mother of two young adults, had put in a long shift on her job. After working she took an uncle to the train station in Fresno. On her way home, while in the town of Clovis, her car was rammed from behind by another car.
with Niece Sadie
She attempted to ignore the car, but the driver tried to force Dawson into oncoming traffic by driving in the right shoulder of the roadway. Dawson attempted to drive to a nearby gas station. On her way there, while stopped at a red light, a burly woman with tattoos on her hands, arms and neck walked up to Dawson's car and spit on her. Then the woman hit Dawson so hard she was knocked out cold.
Dawson remembers little of what happened after being knocked unconscious. She woke up in an emergency room with a concussion, broken nose and broken ribs.
Eyewitnesses informed the police they saw a Caucasian woman and two men with swastika tattoos and shaved heads kick and further beat Dawson. Witnesses wrote down the license plate number to the car.
It took the police more than two months to investigate the crime and to even make an arrest. Three months later, in September the woman was arrested and charged.
Since that time there have been six continuances in the case in the preliminary examination in Fresno Court system. The accused attacker, Jennifer Devette Fraser, remains free. Patty Dawson has had to rearrange her work schedule time again so she would be in the courtroom - only to be told there would be another delay. The next scheduled court date is April 3.
This type of courtroom maneuvers reminds me of the old adage:
“Justice delayed is justice denied.”
Just as in the Trayvon Martin case, American Indians need to utilize the social media and Internet to let the prosecutor in Fresno know, enough is enough. We want Justice for Patty Dawson Now!
Perhaps, then we can move towards: " and justice for all."
Every time this petition is signed an email is automatically sent to the Fresno County's District Attorney in support of justice for beating victim Patty Dawson. Please sign the petition and help spread the word.Change.org/Petitions/Demand Justice For Patty Dawson
updated March 27, 2012 8:30 am edt; posted March 26, 2012 1:57 pm edt
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