Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Justice for Trayvon Martin is theme of rally at Tampa church

TAMPA — With nearly 1,000 people filling pews at the 34th Street Church of God on Tuesday night, the sanctuary was sweltering.

Still, the crowd took to its feet over and over again, chanting the night's rallying cry: "No justice, no peace."

They were there for Trayvon Martin, the unarmed, black 17-year-old who was shot and killed last month by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford.

George Zimmerman, 28, who asserted self-defense in the shooting, has not been arrested or charged, sparking a national outrage. Zimmerman's father is white, his mother a Latina, according to neighbors.

Several of Martin's relatives who live in the Tampa area attended the event Tuesday that was organized by Tampa City Council member Frank Reddick.

"Our family never thought that the death of our loved one would ever explode like it did," said Carolyn Williams, a cousin of Martin's mother. "We know that justice will prevail."

Martin's parents were appearing Tuesday afternoon on Capitol Hill and did not attend the rally.

One after the other, a dozen community leaders stood up to speak. All had a similar message.

"This was a murder of a 17-year-old boy," said Carolyn Collins, president of the Hillsborough County branch of the NAACP. "It's now time for us to stand our ground."

Iman Qasi Ahmed, of the Islamic Learning Center, likened Martin's death to the childhood story Little Red Riding Hood.

"He was just an innocent little boy, with a hood, who took a shortcut," Ahmed said. "A wolf took his life."

Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller encouraged those in attendance to keep fighting for justice.

"We must continue to march, peacefully," he said. "We must continue to not let Trayvon's death be in vain."

Some also called for a repeal of the state's Stand Your Ground law that has allowed Zimmerman to remain free on his self-defense contention.

"The state of Florida has issued a license to kill," said Otis Anthony, a host on WMNF-FM 88.5. "We will not rest until Zimmerman is in jail."

Ignoring the heat, many draped hooded sweatshirts, like the one Martin was wearing, across their shoulders.

Some held signs featuring two things Martin was carrying when he was killed: Skittles and a can of iced tea.

At the end of the event, Reddick invited those in the audience to come forward and speak.

Iesha McDaniels, with her two sons and daughter in tow, took the microphone.

"These are my Trayvons," she said as she pointed to her children. "This really touches and moves me because it could be one of my sons."

Elliot Saunders already knows what it's like to lose a son. In 2005, his 18-year-old son was shot and killed. Authorities have not solved his killing.

"This hits home," he said. "We know exactly how Trayvon's family feels."

After his son's death, Saunders helped form Advocates for Safer Communities Inc. He came to the rally to offer his and his organization's support.

"We are in this fight together," he said. "All we want out of this case is justice."

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at (813) 661-2442.

Justice for Trayvon Martin is theme of rally at Tampa church 03/27/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 12:16am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]
  2. Trump, seething about attorney general, speculates about firing Sessions, sources say

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation.

  3. John McCain to return to Senate for health care vote

    WASHINGTON — The Senate plans to vote Tuesday to try to advance a sweeping rewrite of the nation's health-care laws with the last-minute arrival of Sen. John McCain — but tough talk from President Donald Trump won no new public support from skeptical GOP senators for the flagging effort that all but …

  4. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the funk they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.