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Nationwide protests demand justice for Trayvon Martin

Published Apr 4, 2012 9:22 PM

As national outrage has grown against the racist murder of Trayvon Martin, protests have taken place around the country, many on a day or two’s notice in large and small cities and towns. Everyone who has participated is demanding justice in this case and the immediate arrest of George Zimmerman, the vigilante who killed the 17-year-old African-American youth in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26.

All of these actions will help to build the national day of protest on April 10 — the day a Florida grand jury is set to begin deliberations on whether to arrest Zimmerman.

More than 2,000 protesters gathered at City Hall on March 31 in downtown Springfield, Mass. The crowd of predominantly African-American youth wore hoodies and carried signs saying, “Justice for Trayvon Martin!” and “Arrest George Zimmerman!” A spirited march circled through the downtown area and ended up back at City Hall for a rally.

The Rev. Herbert Daughtry, a decades-long activist affiliated with the House of the Lord Church, in Brooklyn, N.Y., led a spirited march and rally on March 29 in the African-American community in Jersey City, N.J., on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Daughtry urged the 200 participants to broaden demands for justice for Trayvon Martin to include demands for jobs, health care and housing. Many of the youth were attending their first political demonstration.

Organized by Power99, more than 2,000 people rallied at Love Park in Philadelphia on March 26. Mic check, an Occupy Wall Street technique, was used to relay speakers’ comments. After the rally, Occupy Philly members led a smaller march to police headquarters.

Love Park was also the site of a March 29 demonstration organized by the NAACP and Power99. Two days later, 200 students and North Philadelphia community residents gathered despite the rain to rally at the Temple University bell tower.

Students and workers marched through the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus and rallied inside the Student Union on March 29 to demand justice for Trayvon Martin and Bo Morrison. Morrison, a 20-year-old African American, was gunned down in early March in Slinger, Wis., by white homeowner Adam Kind, under the “Castle Doctrine.” Students for a Democratic Society UW-Milwaukee sponsored the action, which was endorsed by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 82, the International Action Center and the Wisconsin Bail Out the People Movement.

Students and workers also came out to the library mall on the UW-Madison campus on March 27 to protest these racist murders. Endorsers included the Wisconsin Bail out the People Movement. The International Socialist Organization sponsored this action.

Milwaukee progressive organizations are mobilizing for an April 10 protest calling for “Justice for Trayvon Martin, Bo Morrison, Derek Williams and all victims of police brutality.” It will demand a jobs program and education, not jails for youth. The growing endorsers list includes Africans on the Move, the National Black United Front, Occupy Fondulac, Occupy The Hood MKE, Occupy Milwaukee, and WI BOPM.

Six hundred concerned activists and students attended a “Hoodies for Humanity” protest on March 31 in downtown Salt Lake City. “Justice for Trayvon,” “No Justice No Peace,” and “Prosecute Zimmerman” were the main themes. Their march went around the headquarters of the Mormon church, which has a shameful history of racism, and then ended with a rally at the public library amphitheater. Speakers focused on the struggles of the oppressed and the fight against institutional racism in the U.S.

A strong crowd chanting, “Justice for Trayvon Martin!” marched from Veinte de Agosto Park through downtown Tucson, Ariz., to an Armory Park rally. There, Victor Clayton, an African-American community activist, addressed the urgent need to unite and stop the injustices that led to the murder of Trayvon Martin.

A 1,000-strong multinational crowd rallied for the Seattle Unite 1000 Hoodies rally for Trayvon Martin at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle on March 28. Speakers included Cedric President-Turner, 18, Trayvon Martin’s cousin; James Bible of the NAACP; and Asha Mohamed, a Somali immigrant activist.

The next day, 300 Seattle students from Franklin High School protested the youth’s racist murder.

Workers World Party members and supporters participated in all of these actions.

Thanks to Catherine Donaghy, Michael Kramer, Jim McMahan, Bryan G. Pfeifer, Betsey Piette, Paul Teitelbaum, Summer Wulle and Wilden Wulle for contributing news from their cities for this roundup. See workers.org for updates.