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Protests continue to call for justice for Trayvon Martin

Published Apr 18, 2012 10:40 PM

Protests have continued around the country demanding justice for the African-American youth, Trayvon Martin, who was gunned down by vigilante George Zimmerman on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla. The following are news reports from some of those actions that helped to pressure authorities to arrest Zimmerman on April 11.

Milwaukee, April 10.
Photo: OccupyRiverwest

Hundreds of protesters, mainly young Black people, rallied at Union Square on April 10 in New York City and then took to the streets despite efforts by the police to keep them on the sidewalk. The main chant was “NYPD, go the hell! Trayvon Martin! Sean Bell!” The police randomly arrested a young Black mother of two but were forced to release her an hour later. The marchers went to the Lower East Side and eventually ended the protest back at Union Square, where Occupy Wall Street has been stationed for the past few months. Bell is the young Black man who was shot to death in a hail of bullets while driving his car after attending his bachelor’s party at a nightclub in Queens, N.Y. in November 2007. Go to http://tinyurl.com/7cav6ox to see video footage.

Californians in Pasadena and Richmond took to the streets to express their anger over the fatal attack on Martin as well as other acts of racist violence.

Richmond, Calif.: Youth identify with
Trayvon Martin.
WW photo: Judy Greenspan

About 500 people gathered on the steps of Pasadena City Hall on April 10 to not only deplore the shooting death of Martin but also to protest the horrific killing of a 19-year-old African American, Kendrec McDade, who was fired at by police multiple times on March 24.

The local NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Lutheran Community Coalition organized the rally where McCade’s family members spoke, along with representatives from Occupy the Hood in Los Angeles and various clergy and union members. Sponsoring groups asked the International Action Center to contribute signs for this and future rallies.

A spirited group of parents, students and union activists marched through the streets, calling for “Justice for Trayvon Martin,” and ended up at Richmond City Hall on April 9. Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and several City Council members greeted them.

Eleanor Thompson, a community activist and leader of Social Progress Inc., opened the rally reminding the crowd, “Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.” McLaughlin, a Green Party member, and other speakers expressed their solidarity with the struggle for justice for Martin.

José Rivera is a member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance — which organized the demonstration — and is also affiliated with Occupy Richmond. He spoke about the racism and oppression he, as a young Chicano man, faced growing up in Richmond. “We have suffered more than 500 years of colonialism and oppression,” Rivera stressed. He concluded, “We have to fight back.”

Midwesterners demand Justice for Trayvon Martin

Community organizations and clergy representatives attended the April 10 rally in Detroit in solidarity with the family of Trayvon Martin in their campaign to win justice for their slain son.

The Rev. Charles Williams II convened the meeting at the historic King Solomon Baptist Church, in conjunction with the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice. Williams invited participation by Brooke Harris, a Pontiac Academy teacher who was recently terminated from her job because she taught the students about Martin’s death and was assisting them in a fundraising project to help his parents.

Abayomi Azikiwe of MECAWI also spoke, and so did Martila Jones, the grandmother of seven-year-old Ayana Stanley Jones, who was fatally shot by Detroit police on May 16, 2010. The suspected police officer has not gone to trial nearly a year after he was indicted.

A rally and march for justice for Trayvon and Bo Morrison was held on April 10 in Milwaukee. Morrison, an African-American youth, was killed by white homeowner Adam Kind, in Slinger, Wis., under the racist Castle Doctrine, which is similar to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.

The rally was held at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. statue on Martin Luther King Drive and featured a program of community speakers, followed by a march to the Fifth District police station. Speakers included retired State Rep. Annette ‘Polly’ Williams, the Rev. Willie Brisco, Vel Phillips, Oshiyemi Adelabu and Brian Verdin.

The Coalition for Justice for Trayvon and Bo Morrison organized the demonstration. It calls for the prosecution of Martin and Morrison’s killers, the abolition of racist vigilant laws, an end to the attacks on African-American, Latino/a and all communities of color and more. Many organizations comprise the coalition, including Occupy the Hood, Peace Action WI, the National Black United Front, Occupy Milwaukee, the WI Bail Out the People Movement, Africans on the Move, Students for a Democratic Society, the Nation of Islam Muhammad Mosque #3, Voces de la Frontera, the Milwaukee Brotherhood of Fire Fighters, the Milwaukee NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, WI Jobs Now, the Latin American Solidarity Committee, the International Action Center, the Gay/Straight Alliance of Rufus King High School, Occupy Fond du Lac and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 82.

Thanks to Abayomi Azikiwe, Judy Greenspan, Monica Moorehead, John Parker and Bryan G. Pfeifer for contributing news to this article.