In the aftermath of the fatal police shooting of Jerame Reid in Bridgeton, N.J., the father of Trayvon Martin recently made a visit to the town that is grappling with a situation he sadly knows all too well.
Speaking at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Burlington Township last Saturday, Tracy Martin discussed how cities across the country are still dealing with the issue of shootings of unarmed Black men. His son, Trayvon, was shot in Florida in 2013 by civilian community-watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of the killing.
“I am a firm believer in protesting, but what you do after the protest, to start a process, a dialogue … working to find solutions is very important,” Martin said, according to reports. “It’s a matter of turning pain into power. Understand life values, giving our young men the [tools] they need to understand.”
He also highlighted the role of fathers in their sons’ lives and the importance of strong families.
Black police officer Braheme Days fatally shot Reid in Bridgeton in December. Days claimed he saw a gun in the glove compartment of the vehicle Reid was riding in. The incident was captured on a police dashboard camera.
Black residents in the area have held demonstrations in response to the shooting, with the most recent one taking place last weekend. However, a problem organizers are running into is getting the proper city permits to march.
Traffic was blocked during the protest, but officials reportedly allowed the march to go on. Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly said in one report that it’s a matter of the marchers’ safety.
“We’re going to encourage anybody to have go through the proper channels to get a permit for public safety,” Kelly stated. “Because to go on a state highway, that means they have to talk to state officials [which] in most cases, that takes months. But they need to go through the proper channels. It was dangerous.”