Hundreds rally across city for Trayvon Martin
New Yorkers Sunday flooded the city's streets to vent their frustration at George Zimmerman's acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin, marching in Union Square, Harlem and Brooklyn, and even wearing hoodies in solidarity at services at Middle Collegiate Church.
Starting with a 1 p.m. rally outside Harlem's Adam Clayton Powell monument and going until the late evening with a gathering in Union Square, protesters had one message: Justice was not done.
"It's a travesty that as a black person, you can't walk on any street freely without fear of discrimination," said Paulette Clarke, 42, of Jamaica, who was among more than a thousand at Union Square Sunday. "And then this man gets off. It's disgusting."
The city's politicians used the verdict to air their views on gun control, stop and frisk, anti-racism legislation and more, with some of the city's candidates for office attending the rallies throughout the day. (TIM HERRERA)
Here's what happened as the day unfolded:
(photo by Charles Eckert)
About 150 people held an informal protest at 125th Street in front of the Adam Clayton Powell monument at 1 p.m., holding signs that read, “Trayvon Martin. Emmett Till. Medgar Evers. Victims of racist lynchers,” and having speakers orate to the crowd.
A bullhorn was passed among them, and people expressed their disappointment with the verdict and the justice system, especially when dealing with minorities. They chanted: “The whole damn system is guilty.”
Tracie Hall, 44, of Harlem, one of the speakers at the rally, said she had come to the demonstration because two of her brothers were shot — and one killed — during the 1965 Watts race riots in south central Los Angeles.
“This resonates and just brings it all back to me,” she said. “I knew how devastated my family was.”
As a result of that experience, she told the crowd she was raised learning to “be careful where I roam. It’s just not safe to be a young person of color.”
One protester, Michael Thomas, 45, of Harlem, said, “They will tell you to calm down, give the system one more chance. The system has no more chances.”
A longtime resident of Harlem who identified herself as Sister Vee, said, “This is the same old soup warmed over as far as justice is concerned. I’m not surprised.”
She said she was hoping the federal government would intervene and that “Florida would do the right thing.” (NEWSDAY)
(photo by Charles Eckert)
After starting in Union Square, hundreds of chanting New Yorkers last night marched up to midtown waving signs and protesting against George Zimmerman’s acquittal, following a rally of more than 1,000 people downtown and preceded by a 2 p.m. demonstration.
“It’s sad that I have to have this conversation with my son in this day and age,” said Dwayne Singleton, 43, of Harlem, who attended the afternoon rally.
“To keep going through this, I’m just frustrated, and I have to come out here and support our causes instead of sitting on the sidelines,” Singleton said.
Dozens and dozens of people carried signs that read, “Justice for Travyon,” “We are all Trayvon,” “Trayvon was every black woman’s son” and more, and people chanting “No justice, no peace” marched around the area.
Chalk art was drawn on much of the park’s south end, including an outline of a body with the words written inside: “Who is next?”
Around 7 p.m., hundreds marched down Broadway, back up through the East Village and eventually made their way to midtown, carrying signs and chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, racial profiling has got to go.”
City politicians used the verdict to air their views on gun control, stop and frisk, anti-racism legislation and more, with some of the city’s candidates for office making appearances at Union Square.
“This is such a slap in the face to justice that the people of this country need to see action quickly from the justice department,” said public advocate and mayoral contender Bill de Blasio.
Manhattan Borough president Scott Stringer, running for city comptroller, was also in Union Square, and said the verdict highlighted the need for more discussion about the city’s stop-and-frisk policy.
The “policy is discriminatory. We have to mend it,” he said.
“It’s the continuing discussion about how we continue to make New York City the safest big city, but at the same time not attack or profile our children who happen to be African American or Latino,” he said.
Simone Taylor, 42, said the movement needs to “keep the momentum.”
“Keep vigilance and keep your eyes open to what’s going on,” she said. (TIM HERRERA AND DAN RIVOLI)
Brooklyn’s Borough Hall
(In photo: Kristen Cole holding a sign on Borough Hall steps; photo by Ivan Pereira)
Protesters of all different backgrounds stood united Sunday at Brooklyn Borough Hall in a call for peace and justice in light of the verdict.
Almost 250 people rallied on the building’s steps, calling on elected leaders to work on ways to prevent others from dying in vain.
Many members of the group said the slaying and trial showed that people needed to work harder for equality.
“It’s not right knowing as a white mother I can go to sleep knowing my sons won’t be stalked and other mothers can’t,” said Kristen Cole, 42, a Crown Heights teacher who attended the rally with her family.
Yolanda Price, 42, a secretary from Bedford-Stuyvesant, said the verdict shocked her, especially since she’s both black and has a young son.
“We’re here to stand up for Trayvon Martin and anyone else who is innocent,” said Price, who brought her 11-year-old son to the rally.
Singer Solange Knowles, Beyoncé’s sister, organized the rally with Brooklyn district attorney candidate Ken Thompson and the Brooklyn branch of the NAACP, which asked protesters to sign a petition urging the U.S. Department of Justice to pick up the case. (IVAN PEREIRA)