Thousands Protest Lack of Justice for Trayvon Martin
Barrington M. Salmon | , WI Staff Writer | 3/28/2012, 9:41 a.m.
But the law's author, State Rep. Dennis Baxley, said in an interview following the slaying that "there was nothing in this statute ever intended to protect somebody who was pursuing or confronting other people."
Speakers and parents in the crowd said they can't begin to imagine how Trayvon's parents feel, saying that this is every black parent's worst nightmare.
"I am one mother. I stand before you as one mother raising a black child, teaching my son how to save his life," Avis Jones-DeWeever told the crowd. "No teaching, no counsel and no attire could have saved Trayvon Martin from being murdered."
"We're not here to debate a so-called 'hold your ground' law because the only person who needed to hold his ground was Trayvon. I heard Zimmerman's attorney talking about his client isn't a racist. I don't care if he's a racist, I care that he is a murderer."
After her remarks, Jones-DeWeever, president of the National Council of Negro Women, elaborated.
"I'm angry and heart-broken at the same time," she said during the interview. "As the mother of two sons, we have to educate our sons around what they need to be aware of, relevant to police interaction. There's no advice he [Trayvon] could have been given to deal with an ordinary citizen who chased, hunted and shot him down."
"What's worst is the complete inaction of the police department. Obviously, their position at the scene was that Zimmerman was the victim ... Trayvon was in the neighborhood legitimately. Juxtapose this: the man was 100 pounds heavier, he had a criminal past but the person they ran the background check on, the one they did the blood test on and who they dehumanized after death was Trayvon."
Demands for Social Change
The Rev. Graylan Hagler of Plymouth Congregational Church of Christ in Northeast revved up the ethnically and culturally diverse crowd with a large dose of righteous indignation.
"We're standing here today because we're all Trayvon Martin!" he said. "Racism is pervasive in this country. It has been maturing and moving ever since black people came to this rock. When we elected Obama, they talked about a post-racial America. They don't wear Klan robes but we have Limbaugh on the radio. Racism is so insidious. When you mix race with guns, that's a disaster waiting to happen."
" ... Enough is enough. This is a brand new day in America. We'll stand shoulder-to-shoulder ... we're never, ever, ever going to be quiet or silent or passive. We will shake this entire nation. We will fight for every life ..."
The Rev. Tony Lee moderated the rally and introduced three of the four young women who organized the demonstration, as well as community leaders, students and activists, radio personalities, poets and politicians. Lee, the senior pastor of Community of Hope African Methodist Church in Temple Hills, Md., described the quartet as ordinary people who felt compelled to take a stand and who, with no corporate or church backing and only by word of mouth and social media, pulled the protest together.