March 23, 2012 | By wonkum |
On February 26, 2012, 17 year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman as he returned home from a trip to a local convenience store. After 28 days, Zimmerman has yet to be charged in the case and is citing self-defense as his reason for the use of deadly force.
The circumstances of the case sent ripples of outrage across the nation. This week a petition demanding the arrest of Zimmerman reached over 1.5 million signatures on Change.org. Compelling pictures of ordinary citizens garbed in hoodies-black, white, young and old, from Muhammad Ali to former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm- appeared from rallies, on social media, websites and blogs, as well as on TV screens across our nation. This week, a movement was launched.
Today, IMPACT along with Congressional staffers from organizations spanning a kaleidoscope of races, cultures and backgrounds came together to take their own stand for justice.
Dubbed “Hoodies on the Hill,” the rally was a chance for the participating organizations to show their support for basic human rights and bring to the fore the grave injustice dealt to Trayvon and his family. The message was clear; the demand for justice, poignant. In a particularly powerful moment, Brandon Andrews, a former resident of Florida and co-director of African-American Men on the Hill, said what was on the minds and hearts of so many in attendance: “It could have been me.”
Senate Chaplain Barry Black, a former U.S. Navy Commander, spoke of his experience with being racially profiled while he was stationed in San Diego, CA. Residents of the neighborhood he was in thought he looked “suspicious” and called the police to investigate. Once the police officers found his military ID, they let him go. But for him, the incident left its mark. Chaplain Black concluded his remarks by asking all of those in an attendance to pledge to pray for the healing of racial tension in America.
The rally ended with one staffer leading the crowd in singing ” A Change Gon’ Come” by Sam Cook and “We Shall Overcome.” For those in attendance, it seemed even for just a few moments America stood one step closer to achieving the healing it so desperately needs.
Want to get involved? Sign the petition or attend one of the many events planned over the next few days:
- NAACP March in Sanford, FL on March 31st: The NAACP will be hosting a march in Sanford, FL on Saturday, March 31. It will begin at 11am at a local church. The crowd will march to the police station. Contact Rebecca Guerra at RGuerra@naacpnet.org or by phone at 410.580.5133 or at 443.540.1491.
Sign the Petition:
- Here is the link to the petition on change.org: http://www.change.org/petitions/prosecute-the-killer-of-our-son-17-year-old-trayvon-martin.
- Join the NAACP Washington D.C. Branch and the National Black United Front (NBUF) as we join together in solidarity, Friday March 23, 2012 at 6:30 p.m., for a Prayer Vigil for Trayvon Martin & his family. The prayer vigil will take place at The Big Chair located at 2100 MLK Avenue S.E., Washington D.C. All are welcomed and encouraged to attend.
- Stand Up for Trayvon Justice Rally will be held at Freedom Plaza, located at 14th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC on Saturday, March 24 at 2:00pm. Attendees are asked to wear all black or a wear a hoodie. For more info, contact: email@example.com.
- Following the prayer vigil, on Monday, March 26, 2012 at 4:00 p.m., NBUF will hold a Solidarity Rally at the U.S. Department of Justice, 1425 New York Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. Participants are encouraged to wear black for unity. Drummers are encouraged to attend.
- March for Justice on Monday, March 26, 2012 at 6:00pm. This march will take place at the Campus Mall in front of Blue Ridge Hall at Bridgewater College in Virginia. They would like to invite students, faculty, and staff member of neighboring colleges and universities to participate in the march. If you have any questions or would like to participate, please contact Nahshon Ford ’14 at 443-447-0093 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or Cornell Wade ‘13 at 301-520-8817 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
In addition to IMPACT, the follwing organizations participated in today’s rally: Congressional Black Associates (CBA) | Black Republican Congressional Staff Association (BRCSA) | Congressional Hispanic Staff Association (CHSA) | African American Men on the Hill (AAMH) | Greeks on the Hill | Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association (CAPASA) | Deltas on the Hill | AKAs on the Hill | Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Congressional Staff Association (LGBT-CSA)| Congressional African Staff Association (CASA) | Congressional Muslim Staff Association (CMSA)