Several thousand New Yorkers gathered at Union Square for the “Million Hoodie March and Rally” to protest the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Martin was killed by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch volunteer who racially profiled Trayvon and then shot him dead.
The rally gave a warm welcome to the parents, who were in New York making several appearances on national media. The march and the rally was a massive protest against racism and a powerful call for justice.
At the rally Benjamin Crump, the Martin family’s lawyer, made a moving speech on the legal facts of the case. He pointed out that the police completely accepted everything that George Zimmerman said ‘as if it was the ‘Gospel truth.'”
He also pointed out that Zimmerman had committed an act of murder, and the police didn’t even take him in for questioning. “They didn’t even bother to check Zimmerman through the system or give him a alcohol or drug test.”
On the other hand, “They did check on Trayvon. They did test him for drugs and alcohol.”
He added, “They patted Zimmerman on the back as if it had been Trayvon who pulled the trigger.”
The family had to file a lawsuit to get the 911 tapes from the police. It is the 911 tapes and messages on Trayvon’s girlfriend’s cell phone that show that Zimmerman was driven by a racist outlook. As Crump said, ” He used every racist stereotype in the book to describe Trayvon.”
“Zimmerman” Attorney Crump charged, “committed an act of ‘cold-blooded murder.'”
On the same day as the march, the Sanford, Fla., City Commission voted that they had “no confidence in Police Commissioner Bill Lee Lewis for not arresting Zimmerman.”
Trayvon’s parents, Crump pointed out, “are not asking for an eye for an eye. They want justice”.
Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, thanked the New York crowd for supporting his son. The crowd responded with the chant, “We are Trayvon.”
Saybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, thanked the large crowd for coming out. She went on to say that her heart was in pain but, she added, “to have the support of all of you gives me hope”.
She continued, “This is not about black versus white. It’s about right versus wrong.”
After the rally there was a spirited march demanding justice for Trayvon which took over the streets around Union Square and ended up in lower Manhattan.
Over the last weeks Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly have been under heavy criticism because of the city’s racist stop-and-frisk program.
There have also been a number of police killings in New York involving young blacks and Latinos.
The police have also been caught spying on the Muslim community and NYPD has been carrying out mass arrest and vicious attacks on the Occupy Wall St. movement.
In response to the huge national outcry over the murder, the Justice Department has launched an inquiry.
The next step is a massive effort to get 1 million signatures on a petition to demand that the authorities in Sanford Florida arrest George Zimmerman for murder.
One marcher put it well, “I feel sad inside. I have black kids of my own. This could happen to any of us. It’s time to put an end to this insanity.”
The Million Hoodie March for Justice was majority black, Latino and white youth. It took place without incident.
Photo: Trayvon Martin’s parent’s, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, at the march in his memory, in Union Square, New York City, March 21. Mary Altaffer/AP