Trayvon Martin rally: ‘We must move from stand your ground to common ground’

Thousands gathered in downtown Atlanta to honor Martin and to protest racial profiling


Neither Kathy Sanders nor her son, Rico, had ever attended a political rally before, but they joined thousands of people in downtown Atlanta Saturday afternoon to pay tribute to Trayvon Martin and call for an end to racial profiling.

“Showing this kind of togetherness, maybe we can make a change,” said Kathy, a College Park resident and U.S. Postal Service clerk.

Rico Sanders, home for the summer from Jacksonville State where he’s a senior and a shooting guard on the basketball team, was selling T-shirts; five dollars of each sold would be donated to the Trayvon Martin Foundation, he said.

For Dionna Smith, a U.S. Navy veteran standing several yards away, this also marked a first political rally. Smith, who held a sign stating “I am Trayvon Martin,” said that she’d participated in parades and marches as a veteran, but never marched for a cause like this. Smith said she was “shocked” last week when George Zimmerman was found not guilty in Martin’s death, but added that whatever the trial’s outcome, Zimmerman will “never walk the earth as a free man; the guilt of shooting Trayvon Martin will stay on his conscience.”

Rally attendees chanted, sang along as gospel star Jennifer Holliday belted out “We Shall Overcome,” and listened to speaker after speaker and prayer after prayer—despite the heavy rain that started shortly after the rally began and fell steadily for more almost an hour. The block between the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Building and Richard B. Russell Federal Center was a sea of umbrellas; those who had worn hoodies out of solidarity with Martin pulled up their hoods as the rain continued.

Martin Luther King III and his sister, Bernice, made a joint appearance as the rally headed into its second hour. Martin III reminded the crowd about the upcoming fiftieth anniversary of his father’s famous “Dream” speech, and its less-famous call for the government to make good on the “bad check” issued to its black citizens. “The check still has not been cashed,” said King’s son, adding that he had just come from an NAACP conference at which there had been discussion of “not consuming certain things, like orange juice, from Florida.”

Bernice King said Martin’s death was a “wake up call” to continue to fight for justice. “In many regards, we have fallen asleep,” she said. “God woke us up just in time.”

Reverend Raphael Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church where the Kings’ father and grandfather both preached, noted the hoodies among the crowd. “What’s so frightening about a black man in a hoodie in the rain?”he asked. On the other hand, he noted, “We have plenty of data to be worried when we see other folk moving through our neighborhood wearing hoods.”

Warnock called for stricter gun control laws. “We must move from stand your ground to common ground to common sense,” he said.

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  • oatka

    The Left has been against Stand Your Ground laws since their inception (defense is in the individual’s hands, not the state). As usual, these people are not aboveboard with their agenda, which is currently using the Martin/Zimmerman shooting as its cover.

    The real reason SYG is under attack is that if the law can be repealed in just one state, Leftist judges can then use it as “precedence” and roll back or block its enactment in their jurisdiction.

    These are the same people who tell those who protest over a murderer’s release to “Move on, protesting won’t bring the victim back.”

  • RandyF

    Tired of all of this. Where are the protests and demonstrations for Josh Chellew? Guilty of nothing more than stopping in at a convenience store. Sound kind of familiar? attacked by four black thugs for no reason, beaten then forced out onto the highway where he was hit by a vehicle and killed.

    Oh, I forgot, Caucasians aren’t allowed to protest or demonstrate without being branded as racist, only Black people can do that.

    Another funny thing. OJ Simpson is acquitted of killing two White people and the Black community shouts that justice was served, that the jury got it right. Now, those same people, Al Sharpton in particular, is screaming for more investigations and hearings because this was a travesty of justice.

    There was far more physical evidence in the OJ trial than there was against George Zimmerman. As it turns out, the black community is not going to be happy until Mr Zimmerman is found guilty of something, anything.

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