Trayvon Martin death: thousands march in town where teenager was shot
Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson among the speakers at rally as protesters vow to continue until arrest is made
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Protesters carried signs and chanted "Justice for Trayvon" as they walked from Crooms Academy of Information Technology to the Sanford police department. The march, organised by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was one of several taking place this weekend.
"We live in the middle of an American paradox," the civil rights activist Al Sharpton, told the crowd. "We can put a black man in the White House but we cannot walk a black child through a gated neighbourhood. We are not selling out, bowing out or backing down until there is justice for Trayvon."
Other civil rights leaders, including Jesse Jackson, spoke during a two-hour rally that followed the half-mile march.
"This is not about a hoodie, it's about racial profiling," Jackson said, referring to the hooded sweatshirt Martin was wearing when he was shot. "We will use our marching feet, civil disobedience and every weapon in our non-violent arsenal until justice is served."
A dozen buses from across the state brought protesters to the rally. Shirley Roulhac-Lumpkin came with a group from Miami Gardens.
"I come from an era where people wore white hoods and nobody arrested the KKK," said Roulhac-Lumpkin. "Wearing a hoodie does not mean you're a hoodlum."
Gary Marion, a nurse who grew up in Sanford, said the Sanford police department is known "as a good ol' boy network and this incident sends a message that our children are worth nothing. I would like to see the chief of police charged with obstruction of justice."
Most of the protesters wore T-shirts with images of Trayvon Martin and many carried handmade posters with messages that read "Hoodies Don't Kill People, Guns Kill People" and "Mother's Tears Have No Color."
"We come to make sense of this great tragedy and the entire world grieves with us," said Roslyn Brock, chairman of the NAACP national board of directors. "When the Sanford police did not arrest George Zimmerman, they essentially placed the burden of proof on a dead young man who cannot speak for himself."