Thank You, Rachel Jeantel

Rachel Jeantel watches defense attorney Don West while on the stand during George Zimmerman’s trial for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (Reuters/Jacob Langston/Pool)

If you’re not paying attention to the Zimmerman murder trial, then the name Rachel Jeantel will mean nothing to you.  If in fact you are as riveted as many on the social networks seem to be, then you not only know that she’s the Prosecutors’ “star” witness, but that she is also a reluctant one.

There have been mainly negative commentaries all over the networks  and social media regarding Ms. Jentel’s demeanor on Wednesday (her first appearance in front of the jury) and her subsequent appearance on Thursday.  The consensus was not in her favor.  The author of the following article sees things from a different perspective…

The Nation

Rachel Jeantel was the last person to speak to Trayvon Martin before George Zimmerman killed him on the night of February 26, 2012. On the third day of Zimmerman’s murder trial, after opening statements that featured the words “fucking punks” and knock-knock joke, and testimony from a number of witnesses, Rachel took the stand.

Visibly shaken, Rachel recounted the details of her phone conversation with Trayvon the night he was killed. She says he told her that a “creepy-ass cracker” was watching him. He attempted to lose him, but the man kept following, at which point Rachel suggested that Trayvon run. The phone was disconnected shortly after, and when the two were reconnected, Trayvon told Rachel, “The nigga is behind me.” Rachel then heard a bump, the sounds of “wet grass,” and what she thought to be Trayvon saying, “Get off.”

The court took a recess after the state was finished questioning Rachel, as she was too broken up to continue at that moment. When they returned, Don West, a lawyer on Zimmerman’s defense team, resumed the questioning. Rachel’s demeanor noticeably shifted. She became agitated, answering West’s questions with quick “yes”es and exasperated “no”s. The more tedious the questions, the more frustrated she became. She was looking at a man trying to get someone off for killing her friend. West was doing what a defense lawyer does, of course, by trying to catch Rachel in a lie, poke holes in her story and cast doubt on her credibility. And the way she responded reflected the fact she knew exactly what was going on and she was determined not to let him rattle her. She may have frustrated him just as much as he did her.

Rachel’s testimony is an emotional reminder of just what happened. A teenage boy was killed. His family and friends were left to mourn. For some of them, the pain is still fresh. The man responsible walked free for more than a month. There’s a possibility he could be found not guilty.

Several times, West brought up the fact Rachel lied about her reasons for not attending Trayvon’s wake. “You. Got. To. Un. Der. Stand,” she told West, breaking up each syllable to emphasize her frustration. “I’m the last person—you don’t know how I felt. You think I really want to go see the body after I just talked to him?”

Rachel Jeantel isn’t a Hollywood actress. She’s not a trained professional. She doesn’t testify in court regularly. She’s a young black woman missing her friend. She showed up to court to give all the information she had as to what happened the night he died.

“Are you listening?” she asked West at highly contentious point her testimony where it seemed he had either lost interest or chosen to ignore the things she was saying. How many young black women could ask that question to the world daily? We should be listening more. We should hear what the Rachels of the world have to say. It’s unclear how Rachel’s testimony will affect the jury and the ultimate outcome, whether they’ll read her as hostile and uncooperative. No matter what, though, Rachel stood and defended herself and Trayvon (and frankly, many other black youth) against the condescension, against silencing, and against the character attacks. For that, she should be commended and thanked.

Thank you, Rachel Jeantel.

Mychal Denzel Smith on why justice for Trayvon Martin’s death may never come.

Rachel Maddow – Formerly fringe conspiracy theorists find voice in congressional GOP

When I saw this show last night I had hoped that the You Tube video would be available online so that I could share Rachel’s genius for explaining anything with wit and intelligence beyond any newscaster on TV today.

This particular opening segment of the Rachel Maddow Show expounds on my Think Progress post from a couple of days ago…

Democratic Underground

Rachel Maddow – Romney’s willingness to say anything makes integrity an issue

This video from The Rachel Maddow Show is priceless, from beginning to end.  I really like the way Rachel dissects Right Wing “bull-pucky” as Rachel would say.

H/t: Democratic Underground

Rachel Maddow: Iowa sloppiness exposes GOP insincerity on election integrity

This video gives Rachel the perfect opportunity to show just how sloppily the GOP handles after election votes.

Rachel compares this sloppiness to the several states who claim the reason to have voter ID is to maintain “the integrity of the vote”. I love Rachel’s final expression at the very end of the video!

I’m with Rachel, the GOP is BUSTED!
Vodpod videos no longer available.


The Best of Everything – 2011

Here is my “top 10” list of the best of 2011:

Best non-fiction book: A Singular Woman by Janny Scott.  This book did not try to paint Stanley Ann Dunham a particular way.  It was simply the true story of a strong woman, who married a Kenyan and had a son named Barack Obama.  Stanley later married an Indonesian, Lolo Soetoro and they had a daughter named Maya Soetoro.

A Singular Woman is about a woman who did not conform to the norms of her time.  Stanley Ann Dunham went on to obtain her masters and PhD. in anthropology.

New York Times writer Janny Scott researched her topic meticulously and it shows on every page.  I enjoyed the book immensely.

Best Politician:  Without a doubt in my mind I have to say Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)  Congressman Frank will be retiring after sixteen terms in office.   Known for his quips, quick responses and snarky comments over the last three decades, Congressman Barney Frank announced recently that he would not run for re-election in 2012.

  • I’m used to being in the minority. I’m a left-handed gay Jew. I’ve never felt, automatically, a member of any majority. 
  • They appear to have become so attached to their outrage that they are even more outraged that they won’t be able to be outraged anymore. 
  • Gay people have a different role than other minority groups. … Very few black kids have ever had to worry about telling their parents that they were black.

Best Pop Song of 2011:  Now I know that there are probably dozens of songs out there that folks will find better than Beyonce’s Love on Top but for me, that was the best song in 2011.  The funny thing is that I happened to be channel surfing and saw Beyonce performing that song on the Video Music Awards a few months ago.  I was blown away by the song and then by her pregnancy announcement at the end of the song.

President Obama’s Best Accomplishment of 2011:  Undoubtedly it has to be the POTUS ordering The Navy Seals to take out Osama Bin Laden.  It doesn’t eradicate ten years of an unjust war in Iraq, but it was a huge deal.

Best Motion Picture of 2011:  I can only go by what I’ve seen in 2011 and my pick is Limitless.  Bradley Cooper is phenomenal playing  a down and out computer genius who makes it big on Wall Street but not on his own volition.   Robert DiNiro has a small but significant role in the movie as well and suffice it to say, he’s excellent.

Best Fall Season 2011 Television Show:  Homeland which stars Clair Danes (who gives an outstanding performance as a bi-polar CIA Analyst) and British actor Damian Lewis who has actually mastered his American accent for his role as a soldier who was missing in Afghanistan for eight years and returns home to his wife and kids, a different man.   I hear this is one of the President’s favorite shows.  I can see why.  Check it out on Video on Demand, it’ll be worth it.

Best MSNBC Anchor of 2011:  I have to say, hands down it’s Rachel Maddow who anchors The Rachel Maddow Show  nightly on MSNBC at 9:00 pm est.   Rachel’s show is provocative, funny, informative and well researched.  I used to listen to Rachel on the now defunct Air America Radio.  The best thing about Rachel Maddow’s show is her deliberate presentation of an issue.  Needless to say, Rachel breaks down the most complex political news to it’s lowest common denominator so that all of her viewers will go away understanding exactly what a particular issue is really about.  Oh, by the way, she has a Doctorate  in political science.  Rachel Maddow is by far, MSNBC’s best asset.

Best Weekly Periodical of 2011:  Time Magazine, for recognizing that the Person of the Year actually turned out to be tens of thousands of  people from protests movements across the globe.  Time Magazine‘s smart choice of naming The Protester as person of the year gives them my nod for Best Weekly Periodical, besides, I subscribe to Time and look forward to each issue for their fine reporting on global issues.

Best Viral Video on You Tube in 2011:  

Best People I’ve Interacted with in 2011:  The readers and commenters of this blog.