WBUR

In Roxbury, Hundreds Rally In Support Of Trayvon Martin

Demonstrators marched from Dudley Square to Ruggles and back in protest of the acquittal of George Zimmerman. (Fred Bever for WBUR)

Demonstrators marched from Dudley Square to Ruggles and back in protest of the acquittal of George Zimmerman. (Fred Bever for WBUR)

BOSTON — Rallies were held in virtually every major city across the U.S. — including Boston — in response to the Flordia verdict finding George Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

A racially diverse crowd of 500 rallied in Roxbury’s Dudley Square Sunday night, as dozens of speakers took turns with a megaphone to voice outrage and call for action.

“Only in America would a young black man be put on trial for his own murder. It was not George Zimmerman on trial, it was Trayvon Martin on trial,” said Khery Petersen-Smith, a graduate student from Dorchester.

He says those who believe the justice system made a mistake are wrong. Instead, he says, the system was designed this way.

“You can think it made a mistake if you ignore the past 400 years,” he said. “‘Cause this has been happening to us for a long time. The law is not for us, it is against us. It was never for us. This has never been a democracy for us. We have to fight for our rights.”

Many spoke with anger, and about the difficult task of turning that anger into constructive action. Many also spoke about their frustrations with the country’s gun laws. And some, such as Leandra Hawksworth, of Chelsea, spoke about the African American community’s own responsibility for failing to press its case strongly enough before the death of Trayvon Martin.

“The system has not just failed him. We have too,” she said. “Because, why are we here now? We should have been here a long time ago before this happened.”

Jeannine Saint Louis, of Roxbury, said the rally provided a good opportunity for the diverse crowd to come together and vent. But she’d really like to see such events take place elsewhere, too.

“What would, really, I think, give some people hope, especially people of color, is if white people did a rally like this in their own communities,” she said. “We know what’s going on. We don’t need people coming here telling us what we see every day. Now if they did this same kind of rally in Wellesley or Newton or any of those places, well, they need to hear it.”

After more than an hour of speeches, the crowd set off to march up Malcolm X Boulevard to the Ruggles MBTA stop and back to Dudley. They were escorted by police, but as night fell the event ended as it had begun — peacefully.

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  • Apphouse50

    There were more than 500 there, but there should have been WAY more than there were. I don’t know what it takes to get a real protest going in this city anymore. It’s been insanely disappointing for a long time. As someone who was out on the streets in rallies in the 60s and 70s, I’m shocked. I guess everyone thinks Twitter will fix things. LOL.

    • driven .

      i can tell you .. speaking for many OTHERS i KNOW. we had NO IDEA about the rally!! it was not well publicized to those who are not in rox /dor area.. I even GOOGLED rally in boston. and got NOTHING.. then found out the following moring they only put up posters in the area… SO many people in the GREATER BOSTON AREA would have attended.. Its a loss to many . I for one do not hang on twitter all day.. too old for that lol so hopefully it wil be BETTER PUBLICIZED ..

      • Apphouse50

        I think that’s a huge problem; many times there have, I would expect at least, been such events that got no publicity. I searched for it on Google and Twitter and finally found out where it was on the latter. But even then the first reported time for it to start was off (not by much, by a half hour, but still…). Sharpton has announced protests at federal buildings in 100 cities this coming Saturday (7/20) but as of yesterday at least, nothing saying which cities or which federal buildings. The publicity for these things has GOT to get better.

        • driven .

          Absolutely yes, The publicity has to get better.. We all need to network srong and have a voice that reaches everyone.. So many spirits are broken right now and healing will be found in unity with like minded people like us demanding jusitice…I was very frustrated that there was only Media attention AFTER the rally happened/… Like you heard( msnbc) that the Rev declared protests at Federal Buidlings this Sat and I def want to attend and I’m hoping that includes Boston as well.. .Our Collective voice across this country must be heard .

        • driven .

          ps- if you hear anything else please let me know and I will most surely do the same for you- THANKYOU!!

          • Apphouse50

            Check http://nationalactionnetwork.net which is Sharpton’s website. I’ve had trouble getting it to open up but it’s just a long wait…probably being bombarded with well-wishers and hatemongers all at the same time. Hopefully they’ll have the locations soon.

          • driven .

            haha Yes- you’re right. hatemongers and supporters both bombarding the site.. I cant get into it either but Ill keep trying.. Thanks much I appreciate it.

          • driven .

            No Rally in BOston??!!!! wow;(

          • Apphouse50

            I lost track…both cars (mine and my son’s) had car trouble. His turned out not to be a problem. Mine is lost to me until next week. That and this bloody heat, which really takes its toll on me physically, have consumed me.

          • driven .

            omg yeah- I missed out again! I made calls to people to find out – got no return calls…checked evert google link I could..thinking why the hell isnt boston having one>>>!!!
            Then my sister called me at 4pm saying they a boston rally!! I was like wtf!!! missed it AGAIN?! The only one listed nearby was Springfield MA and I wasnt going way out there. esp.in this heat..
            Speaking of which – hope youre ok.. its so true the heat can truly take a serious toll on people so I think maybe in some strange karma it was meant we missed it … but our heartts are in the right place!!:). That sucks about the car issues as well,,, I hope it all gets sorted good for you next wekk…
            If had of made it to the Boston today.. not sure how long I would have been able to deal with the heat..
            Thanks so much for replying back .. Have a great wkd!

          • Apphouse50
          • driven .

            Looks like many missed as well..I hear they were picking up people to add to the rally/walk as the marched along . Wow some wearing symbolic hoodies..now doing that I def would have passed out..lol

          • Apphouse50

            Not surprised. They should have sent something out by email to everyone who could be sympathetic. Then again , though, the heat here was deadly, kept a lot of ppl home. Not everyone can handle it. I spent half the day at a friend’s shop as my a/c is down. Could not have walked home if I tried and it’s only a half mile away, it works on me so badly. Walked her dog around the block and tht damn near killed me.

          • driven .

            Yes an email would have been nice! But in the least they could have simply – listed boston as a city – that would be particpating. and so many more would have shown up … Springfield MA did. Yeah the heat was a huge deterrent no question. I know yeah a half mile would feel like a country away in that heat… I hear ya.. I have a dog and walking her around the block that day wore me out totally too! LOL

  • Joe0230
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