A Social Media Stand Nixes Zimmerman Trial Juror's Book Deal7/16/2013
From the start of the journey to justice for Trayvon Martin more than a year ago, social media org...
From the start of the journey to justice for Trayvon Martin more than a year ago, social media organizing has played an integral role in shedding light on the case and rallying a community of concerned citizens. Yet the efforts demonstrated online continue to find detractors in those unconvinced of the effectiveness of online organizing.
I've expressed frustration with the digital posturing that sometimes get called activism, but the power of the speech that takes place on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and elsewhere can no longer be denied.
Twitter claimed another victory in the name of justice for Trayvon Martin last night. By efforts led by Genie aka MoreAndAgain juror B37's literary agent publicly rescinded representation and the juror abandoned plans to write a book.
Here's what happened.
On Monday, B37's literary agent Sharlene Martin announced the juror's plans to write a book about her experience working on the trial.
Soon after, Twitter users found Martin's account and website and flooded her with messages of disapproval like this one.
Hey, @sharlenemartin, please drop juror B37.
Do not help the person who let a murderer get away profit from this tragedy.
Cocky McSwagsalot (@MoreAndAgain) July 16,
These messages elicited no response from Martin herself nor Martin Literary Management.
But at about 10 PM ET, Genie began a petition on Change.org. In just a few minutes, the petition drew widespread
support and reached its goal of 1000 signatures.
Martin, feeling the heat, reached out to Genie privately, and later published this tweet.
After careful consideration of the book
project with Zimmerman #JurorB37, I have decided to rescind my offer of
— sharlene martin (@sharlenemartin) July 16,
The quickness with which the situation unfolded reveals the persuasiveness of public shaming and the power of collective action for the greater good.
I asked Genie about what spurred her action, and she told me this.
"From the minute the Zimmerman verdict was delivered, I was overwhelmed with feelings of defeat, anger, and frustration. It wasn't until @miss_hellion said that we could stop B37's book from being published, that I felt like I had any power to make something right. I don't think anyone should profit off the death of Trayvon Martin, least of all someone who helped his killer get away. Thanks to the people who signed the petition, and spread the word, we were able to find victory in the midst of defeat. It's small in the grand scheme of things, but victory nonetheless.
While B37 had no qualms about appearing on Anderson Cooper like to defend George Zimmerman and demean Rachel Jeantel. The negative feedback proved to be too great, and she announced that she will no longer be writing a book at all.
I realize it was necessary for our jury to be sequestered in order to protest our verdict from unfair outside influence, but that isolation shielded me from the depth of pain that exists among the general public over every aspect of this case. The potential book was always intended to be a respectful observation of the trial from my and my husband’s perspectives solely and it was to be an observation that our ‘system’ of justice can get so complicated that it creates a conflict with our ‘spirit’ of justice.
Now that I am returned to my family and to society in general, I have realized that the best direction for me to go is away from writing any sort of book and return instead to my life as it was before I was called to sit on this jury.
@SharisseTSmith If this has taught me
anything, it's to not underestimate what we can do.
— Cocky McSwagsalot
(@MoreAndAgain) July 16,
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Kimberly Foster is the founder and editor of For Harriet. Email or tweet her.