Who Is Al Sharpton?

                                           Photo by Rodney Pike

Parades, pickets, demonstrations, marches, rallies, protests, boycotts — the Revered Al Sharpton has done it all. He is one of the most power African American leaders of today.  Whenever something bad happens in the African American community, the first person that the overall African American people and black community leaders want on their side is that of Al Sharpton. He was born October 3, 1954, in Brooklyn, New York, as Alfred Charles Sharpton Jr.  In 2004, he ran as  candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. presidential election—in which he lost. Nonetheless, this civil rights leader is also a powerhouse social justice activist with  a radio and television show. http://nationalactionnetwork.net/about/staff/rev-al-sharpton/

Over the years, Al Sharpton has been under attack from the White House to the IRS. But nevertheless, he is the BMIC (black man in charge) to go to—for the African American community living in the U.S. He is the HNIC (head negro in charge) who is not afraid to say what is on his mind. He is a man that will stand up for social change and injustice in which he has been known to publicly protest and rally on the behalf of important causes throughout the United States, such as the charge of murder especially against that of young African American males.  For many years he has been in the public’s eye as being an overweight, obnoxious loud mouth and a know-it-all. His hair has always been a part of his character; he seemly likes it wavy. In the past, he has written books; one can add author to his growing list of accolades. But today, he has lost a lot of weight, is currently dating a young woman half his age, and has recently written a new book called “The Rejected Stone: Al Sharpton and the Path to American Leadership.” One can read more about his new book at the following websites: http://newsone.com/2734079/al-sharpton-book/  http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/al-sharpton-exclusive-book-excerpts-article-1.1468678 http://aalbc.com/authors/al-sharpton.html

I can personally remember when a young man was gunned down in the House of Grace church daycare center where children and staff members were present. It happened in 2009. Eyewitnesses that were in the church at the time of the shooting, said that the young man ran into the church and went into a closet in which he was hiding when the Rockford Police officers entered the premises. Several accounts were given as to what actually happed that day. According to the officers, the suspect struggled with one of the officers before being shot to death. Nevertheless, eyewitnesses stated that the victim, Anthony Barmore, came out of the closet with both of his arms in the air, when suddenly two police officers opened fire on him without due cause. According to police, they were justified in killing an unarmed man. The African American community rallied for justices for days.

The African American community called on the top pastors of the churches throughout the Rockford community to do something about this twenty-three year old man being killed in cold blood. We also cried out to black community leaders to seek justice against these officers for using such deadly force against the victim. The city desperately needed to hear from the Rockford leaders, such as the Mayor and the chief of the police department. We wanted to hear from Al Sharpton about this injustice. Even though the community did not see Al Sharpton come out and support the family or the community of this young man, he did send a letter to the church on his behalf.

A couple of websites reported on this terrible tragedy: http://aapoliticalpundit.blogspot.com/2009/08/deadly-daycarechurch-shooting-rockford.html

http://communistpartyillinois.blogspot.it/2009/09/shot-dead-in-rockford-church-day-care.html

A broadcast of the news can be found in this video:  “Police kill an African American in the midwest near Chicago”

No one would have thought that in 2012, a 17-year-old African American high school student, by the name of Trayvon Martin, would be shot by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. It seemed that more and more of our young African American men were being killed on the streets. Given this fact about today’s young black males whose lives have been cut short, I strongly believe that this is one of the reasons why Al Sharpton became so strongly involved with this case.

I have included a couple of websites in which Al Sharpton is one black man who is not to be messed with when it comes to a terrible injustice against society’s black young males.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/USA-Update/2013/0721/Trayvon-Martin-rallies-Has-Al-Sharpton-gone-mainstream-video

When I first heard of the tragic case involving Trayvon Martin, I was shocked and in disbelief. I could not understand how an individual who admitted to shooting a teenager to death was never arrested. I wondered what kind of legal system we were dealing with that would allow a person to shoot another individual and not be held responsible for it. Hundreds of people from all walks of life joined in the fight to see that justice was done on behalf of Trayvon. People came together in hopes of making sure that an incident like this would never happen again.

Al Sharpton had something to say as he joined in the fight on Youtube:  “Al Sharpton full speech. Trayvon Martin Rally NYC 7/20/13”

When it came to Zimmerman’s trial, I will have to admit that I had taken the time to get glimpses of George Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial in the case of Trayvon Martin. Here is day 13, the last day of the trial called: “George Zimmerman Trial – Day 13 – Part 1 (Closing Arguments)”

When the verdict came in as not guilty, I was shocked and in disbelief that he had gotten away with murder. The public said the same thing about OJ Simpson and that the legal system once again failed the American people.  Some of my friends said that the verdict did not come as a shock to them. But Rev. Al Sharpton assured the family, community, pastors, and black leaders, that it wasn’t over until the fat lady sings. Sharpton was quoted as saying: “They took his life, but we can’t let them take his legacy.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/11/al-sharpton-trayvon-martin-judgment_n_1419043.html)

Here are the various websites that featured Sharpton after the verdict of George Zimmerman:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/11/al-sharpton-trayvon-martin-judgment_n_1419043.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/27/al-sharpton-trayvon-martin-msnbc-activism_n_1381913.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/23/al-sharpton-trayvon-martin-rally_n_1374975.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/21/al-sharpton-trayvon-martin-rally_n_1370301.html

Despite his support in the African American community, I know that some critics have said that Rev. Sharpton is racist. In the trial of George Zimmerman, Sharpton wanted to play the role of role of judge, jury and executioner while his critics said he should have been more in tune to the facts presented in the case. Others have said Sharpton will only protest for African American people and not Caucasian or Hispanics who also face social injustice in the United States.  In fact, when a white man named Chris Lane was killed, he did not do any protesting on behalf of this Caucasian victim, nor did Al Sharpton do anything to seek justice for the family or the white community. Furthermore, it has been stated that he will only become involved with a case and protest when money is involved in which he will be reward for his part in bringing injustice to the light. Could these critics have a point? And how does Sharpton respond to this claim? Here is an article called, “Al Sharpton Not Protesting Chris Lane Murder Because ‘The System Worked”: http://www.inquisitr.com/919580/al-sharpton-not-protesting-chris-lane-murder-because-the-system-worked/

I also found this YouTube video in which Al Sharpton defends himself as not being a racist on the issue of Chris Lane: “ Al Sharpton On Chris Lane Killing: Nothing To Protest Because It Was”

Looking from both sides of the coin, I feel that Al Sharpton over the years has been a great source of strength to the African American community, in spite of the negative publicly that he has received over the years. He has been asked more that any other African American leader to represent the African American community as a whole and that alone has to speak volumes, in which I will gladly accept. I think that Al Sharpton will continue to fight for justices until the day that he take his last breath, despite disliked by so many people.

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