General Information    Statement of Sherrilyn Ifill, President & Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. on the Michael Dunn Verdict
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The shooting of seventeen-year-old Jordan Davis marked yet another tragic and senseless death of an unarmed, innocent, African-American teenager. Rather than seeing Jordan or his friends for what they were -- ordinary teenagers -- Mr. Dunn saw a threat and recklessly acted with lethal force.

We will never know exactly what Mr. Dunn was thinking when he fired nine rounds at Jordan and his friends, but we have some very strong clues. We know that Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law emboldens people to take matters into their own hands and use deadly force, despite the absence of a threat, let alone a weapon. We know that letters he wrote from jail while awaiting trial provide insight about his thoughts on race and who he perceived to be a criminal. In one, he mentioned that "This jail is full of blacks and they all act like thugs." He went on to write: "This may sound a bit radical but if more people would arm themselves and kill these [expletive] idiots when they're threatening you, eventually they may take the hint and change their behavior." Finally, we know that the criminalization and demonization of African-Americans -and especially African-American men and boys- is deeply rooted in our nation's history.

The verdict in Mr. Dunn's trial does not change the fact that the same pernicious biases and stereotypes about race, and dangerousness that led to Trayvon Martin's death played a central role in Jordan's death as well. We all must work to roll back laws like "Stand Your Ground," which foster violence and make it harder to prosecute many murders in which racial bias played a role. We all must work tirelessly for a society in which people are never targeted and criminalized for the color of their skin. We all must continue to struggle for an America that is free from racial discrimination and embraces the moral imperative of racial equality. LDF has worked and continues to work to achieve these goals since our earliest days. By doing so, we and pay tribute to Jordan Davis' life while helping to heal the deep wounds his tragic death has left behind.


NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the country’s first and foremost law firm fighting for racial justice in America. Founded in 1940 under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall, who became the first African-American U.S. Supreme Court Justice, LDF’s mission is to achieve racial equality and an inclusive society.

LDF has been a separate entity from the NAACP since 1957. Therefore, if you need to shorten our name please refer to us as “Legal Defense Fund” or “NAACP Legal Defense Fund.” More information about LDF is available at

Click here to read LDF’s statement on the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial.

JET Magazine has followed the Jordan Davis tragedy since the very beginning. With the verdict now in, we are relieved that some justice will be served. However, we are extremely disappointed that the jury was unable to convict Michael Dunn on all five of the charges. It is our hope that the retrial will occur, Michael Dunn will be found guilty of first-degree murder and a message will be sent to this country about the consequences of reckless, indifference towards the lives of African Americans. At this time, we send our thoughts and prayers to the entire Davis family as they continue to seek closure on the untimely death of their only child. JET Magazine intends to continue to report these issues to our audience and bring awareness nationwide in hopes that our service will propel Americans to stand up for justice for all.

-- Mitzi Miller, Editor-in-Chief of JET magazine

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(BLACK PR WIRE) – “Like the rest of America and the world, we woke up to the tragic news that Don Cornelius died in Los Angeles on Feb 1, 2012,” said Eric Brown, CEO of Johnson Products Company. “For us, it was a deep blow, because his company and our company, then led by Don’s friend and mentor George Johnson, grew side-by-side with the advent of JPCs joint project “Soul Train,” the first nationally syndicated TV show for, by, about and sponsored by African-Americans. The two companies made history together – Don provided the content and taught America how to dance, while Johnson Products provided the sponsorship through our never before seen commercials featuring black beauty and black products. Many take it for granted because today it is quite common to see black reporters, show hosts, and actors/actresses in shows and commercials, but when Don Cornelius and Johnson Products started Soul Train, it was virtually unheard of.”

Eric Brown and his wife Renee Cottrell Brown interviewed George Johnson two years ago about Johnson Products’ history as the elder Johnson passed the baton of leadership to them. It was the night of “The Great Model Search,” the company’s official re-launch after the Browns, with the help of private investors, purchased it from Proctor & Gamble. Don Cornelius came because George Johnson was being honored at that event at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles. A video clip of Cornelius’ remarks is posted at

Don Cornelius

“Although we had a young crowd that night, everyone remembered Soul Train, so when Don Cornelius appeared on stage, he was welcomed warmly,” said Renee Brown, VP, Sales and Marketing. “It was an historical moment when I stood between those two media giants who were also old friends. We offer our sincere condolences to the Cornelius family.”

About Johnson Products Company
Originally founded in 1954 and newly established as an independent company in 2009, Johnson Products Company focuses on strategic brand and business development in the ethnic hair care market. The company has been a leading brand in the African American community for more than a half-century and currently offers more than 60 hair care products under the Gentle Treatment® and Ultra Sheen® brands.

Don Cornelius Grooving Down
the Soul Train Line
Soul Train Line PYT Michael Jackson

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