Rallying for Trayvon

Protesting justice: A photo of slain teenager Trayvon Martin is held at a rally in Los Angeles. Photo: Dennis J. Freeman

Los Angeles-The outrage over the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has swelled into national contempt that his killer is sill walking the streets of Florida a free man. Residents in the city Los Angeles are the latest to come out and cry for justice for the black teenager who was unmercifully shot and killed by a volunteer neighborhood watch captain after purchasing a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea from a store.

A contingent of about 300 people gathered at Leimert Park in Los Angeles to vent anger and their frustration over what they perceive to be the devaluation of black life in the wake of Martin’s senseless death from a 9mm gun that 28-year-old George Zimmerman used to gun him down with. What started as a local Florida jurisdiction matter in the Feb. 26 killing, have now grown into a national furor, with marches and rallies in just about every corner of the country.

The level of anger has reached such a fever pitch over 1.5 million people have signed a petition on Change.org, calling for the prosecution of Zimmerman, now in hiding. The murder has ignited investigations from the U. S. Justice Department, FBI and state officials. In Los Angeles, mothers, fathers, activists, children, students and music personalities showed up at the impromptu rally to tell the world that true justice needs to be afforded to Martin’s parents.

Former rapper and now radio personality Yo-Yo (Yolanda Whitaker), whose hits include “The Bonnie and Clyde Theme” with Ice Cube and “You Can’t Play With my Yo-Yo,” was one of those personalities on the scene at Leimert Park to have her voice heard on the shooting.

“How come this man is still on the streets?” Whitaker asked in addressing the crowd. “If this was a 17-old white boy, and a 260-pound black man, we wouldn’t be having this rally. We would not be protesting. We would not be having this discussion. There would be a $2 million dollar bail, and the black man wouldn’t have enough money to get out.

“We’ve been screaming no justice, no peace for our young black men for a long time. This is unacceptable. If our community can’t stand up, if the people involved can’t make this happen…then we’ve got a bigger problem than you think.”

Rapper Yo-Yo shows her support for the cause in a rally in Leimert Park in Los Angeles. Photo: Dennis J. Freeman

Human rights activist Ashley Love said she attended the rally to protest the way the shooting was handled and the injustice surround the case.

“It is a not a crime to be black, “Love told News4usonline.com. “Gunning down a child is not self-defense either. This is an outrage. God bless his (Trayvon Martin) family, his loved ones. On the other end, I feel so empowered and inspired by the mobilization of community around the country. We’re not going to tolerate this. We will get the justice that he deserves.”

Torre Brannon Reese, a mentor to hundreds of Los Angeles youth, said Martin was identified and targeted as other young black men are targeted: with fear.

“Young black males are feared, have always been feared,” Brannon Reese said. “America has always been afraid of black men. This is the kind of treatment that most of us receive. That image, that stereotype of the young black male is something that’s out there-it’s been out there. That national image, hopefully, will be affected in a positive way, if we can get the justice here and get some people to become more active, more involved, then maybe we can change the attitude and the image a little bit towards black men.”


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