Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rally photos: "I am Trayvon Martin"

Today in Greenville, Occupiers attended the Justice for Trayvon Martin rally in Cleveland Park. Photos below. (you can click to enlarge)

The choice of the Cleveland Park venue was especially pertinent. Black teenagers have been harassed out of the park repeatedly by local law enforcement. None of the speakers mentioned these past events; the curfews invoked, the constant police surveillance of the park, etc. But for those of us who have lived here long enough, the park's racist history hovered over the entire afternoon, as various speakers talked about their fear for their own sons.

One speaker mentioned that her son, training for the track team at school, began running at all hours of the day and night. At one point, police brought him home, because "he was running." The speaker wondered out loud if it was safe for black men to run at night?

Traci Fant, organizer of the event, was especially moving in her speech, as was Rev. David Kennedy, whom I am proud to say I have demonstrated with before on two occasions. There were about 15-20 preachers in attendance, lending ample moral authority to the protest. Several elected officials, including local legend and political powerhouse Lottie Gibson, were also present and addressed the rally.

Chants of "No Justice! No Peace!" (or, you could say, "Know Justice, Know Peace") and "I am Trayvon Martin" rang through the park, amid all the beautiful flowering trees. I was disappointed that more white people did not attend the rally, but there were some of us. (Why not hundreds?)

When conservatives like Newt Gingrich announce that Barack Obama is "disgraceful" for caring about Trayvon and his family, you have to wonder just who he is pandering to. This must be what they want to hear.

It explains a lot.