Justice or Just us? Nationwide rallies for Trayvon Martin
Herb Boyd | 7/29/2013, 11:01 a.m. | Updated on 7/29/2013, 11:01 a.m.
Thousands of protesters rallied in over 100 cities across the nation on Saturday with a singular mission: to keep the memory of Trayvon Martin alive and to bring some semblance of justice to his tragic death. Simultaneously, as the George Zimmerman verdict came in, the “Justice for Trayvon Martin” call went out. Following the lead of legendary artist Stevie Wonder last week, a bunch of performers have announced that they too are going to be supporting the Florida boycott.
Meanwhile on Saturday Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, was participating in a rally in Miami, the slain youth’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, was in New York City, where she appeared first at the National Action Network (NAN) and later at One Police Plaza, each time accompanied by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
“I say to you that I am still the proud mother of Trayvon Martin,” she began at NAN, bringing the audience to its feet with thunderous applause. “He was mine; we loved him, supported him and cared for him. We’ve moved on from the verdict, but we have to continue the fight.”
Wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the foundation named after her dead son, Fulton challenged some of the media reports that have mischaracterized her son. “He was no burglar,” she began. “He had every right to be in that area. Trayvon was not confrontational … I believe he was afraid.”
The crowd agreed with her and more than once echoed her belief that George Zimmerman started the fight and ended it.
“Today it’s my son,” she said, never losing her composure. “Tomorrow it may be yours. I stand with New York because New York stands with me.”
During his moment at the podium, the family’s attorney, Ben Crump, recounted how it was the massive rallies and demonstrations that made Martin a household name. “This verdict,” he said, “will not define Trayvon. We will define him. And we will not allow private citizens to profile our children.”
Sharpton brought the session to an end with one of his typically rousing sermons, citing Scripture about how “a little child shall lead them,” which was appropriate for that day’s events and his destination downtown.
When Sharpton and Fulton arrived at One Centre Street, hundreds of spectators had already gathered in the sweltering heat; many of them seeking whatever available shade they could find. There were politicians galore, particularly candidates for mayor, but most eyes were focused on Beyoncé and Jay-Z when they weren’t listening intently to the Rev. Michael Waldron, Franklyn Richardson and Sharpton.
Fulton’s speech downtown was very brief, and she repeated many of things she has been saying since being swept into the public spotlight. She said people tend to forget that her son was a child. “I think sometimes it gets lost in the shuffle,” she said, standing next to Sharpton and her son, with Rep. Charles Rangel and Hazel Dukes of the NAACP nearby. “As I sat in the courtroom, it made me think that they were talking about another man.”