March for Trayvon Martin at Civic Space Park; Black Community Vows More to Come
Former NFL player and current East Valley activist John Goodie led a march of about 150 people Tuesday night in downtown Phoenix to protest the Trayvon Martin ruling.
"We're having this peaceful rally for Trayvon -- and for all the young men and women who might be killed next week or next month," Goodie said.
It was the second time this week that protesters rallied in Phoenix to show their disapproval of the Florida ruling that acquitted George Zimmerman, the man who shot the 17-year-old. From the stage in Civic Space Park, the crowd shared stories of relatives -- all young black men and women -- who had been killed by violence in the community.
They sang a song before Goodie took up a bullhorn.
"You all ready to roll?" he yelled, built like a refrigerator and dressed in blue athletic shorts and a shirt. "You got the spirit? You got the soul?"
At 7:30 p.m., the protesters left Civic Space Park waving signs and miming chants. They marched about four blocks down Central Avenue to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona. They filed in below the marble building, asking for Arizona leaders to voice disapproval with the ruling.
"Any murder of a child is tragic and I believe justice needs to be served," organizer Jennifer Tyson said. "I feel the verdict was wrong . . . we need unity and equality for all. We are Trayvon, and we want justice."
A woman carried a sign reading "Wearing a hoodie . . . NOT suspicious," and "We are all Trayvon." A popular chant was, "Tell me what Trayvon looks like," insinuating that it easily could have been any of them walking home at dusk, carrying an iced tea and bag of Skittles.
When the crowd returned to the park, musicians played and leaders and members of the community expressed their pain and anger.
Activist and Reverend Jarrett Maupin -- always ready for a sharp reproach -- tapped into the frustration many in the crowd felt at what they thought was a ruling skeined by race.
He opined that in Phoenix, too, black youth are under attack.
"We gotta be careful," Maupin says. "The white man doesn't send advance notice to us that he's gonna kill a young black kid."
Maupin says there will be more rallies in defense of Trayvon. He says the Reverend Al Sharpton will travel Saturday, July 20. to Phoenix to speak at a press conference to be held at the federal courthouse. Sharpton was unavailable to confirm the appearance.