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Mon July 15, 2013
'Justice for Trayvon': Detroiters protest in honor of Trayvon Martin
"How many people believe today that there shouldn't be another Trayvon Martin?" Ron Scott asked a crowd through a megaphone.
This was the opening question to a rally on the corner of W. Adams and Woodward Ave. in Eastern Detroit Sunday evening to honor Trayvon Martin. Martin was an unarmed black teenager who was shot last year by George Zimmerman, a Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer. Zimmerman was found not guilty on Saturday of a second degree murder charge in the case. A jury determined Zimmerman shot Martin in self defense.
The rally was organized primarily by the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, but had support from many other organizations, including the Detroit branch of the NAACP and the Green Party.
On the base of a statue, several people spoke to about 100 people, including Ron Scott of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality.
Scott said that this year marks the 50th anniversary of Medgar Evers's death. He says the assasination in 1963 of that civil rights leader was only the beginning of a long fight for equality.
"It's hard to let people know just how hard this fight is going to be," Scott said. He said the Zimmerman ruling should serve as a call to resurrection to the movement for equality and justice.
"Is anybody going to go home and forget about this (the Zimmerman ruling)?" Scott asked.
The crowd roared back, "No."
Caprice Woods, of Detroit, attended the rally and says she worries about her 18-year-old brother. She says her brother was too worried to attend the rally. "My grandmother grew up in the area where there were riots and he's heard stories and was feeling a little intimidated," she said.
Soon after Scott spoke, Mertilla Jones, the grandmother of Aiyana Stanley Jones spoke, and received a lot of support from the crowd. Aiyana was a 7 year old black girl shot and killed during a raid conducted by the Detroit Police Department. A judge declared a mistrial in that case after a jury failed to reach a verdict in the trial of the police officer that shot Aiyana.
"I'm the person you've seen in the papers and I'm real," Jones said. "To see your seven-year-old granddaughter get her brains blown out, I don't wish that on anybody. This is real."
Jones's grandmother wore a shirt that was made for Aiyana's birthday party several years ago, in honor of Aiyana's upcoming birthday on July 20.
"Aiyana is still here and I'm her voice. There are other Aiyanas," Jones said.
Similar protests demonstrating anger over the Zimmerman verdict took place in a number of other U.S. cities.
The Department of Justice said on Sunday it will review the Zimmerman case for possible civil rights violations.
-- Lucy Perkins, Michigan Radio Newsroom