ednesday — had his life not been violently cut short by George Zimmerman — Trayvon Martin would have celebrated his 19th birthday.
On Wednesday — had his life not been violently cut short by George Zimmerman — Trayvon Martin would have celebrated his 19th birthday. Instead, the day was marked by a grotesque new low in the killer's continuing efforts to capitalize on his infamy: the announcement that Zimmerman will face rapper DMX in a pay-per-view, "celebrity" boxing match to be broadcast online.1
Fight promoter and professional con man Damon Feldman is enabling Zimmerman to further victimize a dead young Black man for personal gain, cynically declaring that this exploitative commercial spectacle will substitute as "justice" for Trayvon.2 Real justice was denied by Florida's gun-lobby-written "Shoot First" law and broken court system3 — and we do not honor Trayvon's memory with more violence.
We certainly don't honor his memory by feeding into the stereotype of Black men as violent and belligerent that empowered George Zimmerman to take Trayvon's life without consequence.
The fight's details are set to be announced at a press conference this coming Wednesday, but DMX hasn't finalized his contract and corporate sponsors have yet to sign on. Please join us in urging DMX to do the right thing and pull out of this shameful stunt now.
Feldman, who lost his promoter's license — and was banned from promoting fights in his native Pennsylvania after admitting to court investigators that 95 percent of his matches were rigged4,5 — stands to profit handsomely from a fake fight designed to make money off anti-Black sentiment as much as from those of us outraged by Zimmerman's murder acquittal.
And Zimmerman's bizarre eagerness to fight a Black man, the more high-profile the better — in a fit of dissociation, Zimmerman announced on Monday he'd like to fight Kanye West because he "attack[s] defenseless people"6 — makes a mockery of his criminal defense claim that he feared for his life in a struggle with an unarmed 17-year-old boy. Indulging Zimmerman in his monstrous fantasy recreation of that night — at 5'11", DMX is ironically Trayvon's exact height, of which Zimmerman's defense team made significant issue at trial7 — serves no actual purpose beyond driving money and attention to a violent sociopath and his bottom-feeder promoter.
Rather than giving Zimmerman and his legions of racist supporters what they want, let's honor Trayvon's memory — and prevent future tragedies like his — by demanding a justice system that values and protects Black lives. Let's rid this nation of anti-Black policies like Shoot First and Stop-and-Frisk, and demand better of a media industry that demonizes Black men and boys, perpetuating the dangerous perception by people like George Zimmerman that violence against us is acceptable and necessary.8
Please take a moment to let DMX — and anyone else who might consider stepping in to fill his shoes — know that we're looking to him to do the right thing for all the other Trayvons in our lives that we can't bear to lose. Urge DMX to cancel the fight now.
Thanks and Peace,
--Rashad, Arisha, Matt, Kim, Aimée, Dallas and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
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1. "Damon Feldman Picks DMX To Fight George Zimmerman In Boxing Match," CBS Philly, 02-05-2013
2. "Damon Feldman Apologizes for George Zimmerman Fight Announcement," Philadelphia Magazine, 02-05-2014
3. "Medical Examiner In Zimmerman Trial Sues For $100M, Claims Prosecution Threw Case," NewsOne, 09-11-13
4. "Boxing promoter Damon Feldman pleads no contest to fixing fights," Delaware County Daily Times, 03-08-11
5. "Damon Feldman Returns to the Sweet Science," Philly Boxing History, 06-24-13
6. "Only in America: Zimmerman Outraged Over Kanye West's Attack on 'Defenseless People'," Atlanta Black Star, 02-03-2014
7. "Zimmerman Defense Displays Life-Size Cutouts of Trayvon, Zimmerman," Breitbart, 07-12-2013
8. "Defendant tells police he had spat over loud music, opened fire, ordered pizza," CNN, 02-06-2014