Millions are getting it: Trayvon Martin’s Movement!

Posted on March 23, 2012 by


Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee as he steps aside, temporarily, under fire.

The media buzz had been crackling at high decibel all day, so I approached the rally in support of the family of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida on Thursday evening with much anticipation. The site had already been changed to a larger venue because of the anticipated crowd size, so I was not disappointed when I came upon what seemed to me to be over 10,000 people of every imaginable color and ethnicity assembled peaceably to hear the scheduled speakers. I say the crowd was peaceable, but it was alive, constantly swelling with the addition of bodies from a steady stream of new arrivals and pulsing with a palpable anger and sense of demand.

A historic ground swell of people from around the country rallying for justice.

This restless vibe was especially apparent among the young people who listened respectfully to the preachers poised to keep the crowds “in order” (and they were aided by more law enforcement, including airborne surveillance, than I have ever seen in this community!), but who were clearly not to be sedated by them. The defiant and creative signs, T-shirts, and faces sent this clear message of the courage of a new generation: “Young Black people know who we are, we know who you are, and we know what existential danger we face as Black Americans. Game Over for Status Quo.”

  The crowd, respectfully and patiently, heard the words of speakers including Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King, III, Judge Greg Mathis, Dick Gregory, Radio Personality Micheal Bason, and others. Al Sharpton stepped up to “pass the bucket” for the family, collecting a substantial donation and contributing to the “Sunday Go To Meeting” church-like atmosphere. That crowd would have waited peacefully all night. With a minimum of fanfare, by word of mouth and heart, masses of people, serious and sincere, connected to each other and to this cause, gathered to pay respects and demonstrate support.

This photo speaks for itself!

The dignified parents of Trayvon Martin were the speakers most warmly and attentively greeted by the crowd. Looking at the faces revealed to me the shared hurt, anguish, long-suffered pain and grief finally being given a voice.

A group of young men paused for the moment

I recognized the pivotal moment facing our nation in that instant. The mournful keening of everyone there, harmonized with that of our ancestors at the bottom of the Atlantic, blood-spilled on plantation soil, swinging from Southern trees like “strange fruit”, blown up in church, and dragged behind trucks rose to heaven, and could be heard by anyone who would listen.