On Saturday, 200 people marched through the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles protesting racial profiling and gun violence on the first anniversary of the verdict acquitting George Zimmerman of murdering Trayvon Martin.
The crowd, led by Trayvon Martin’s parents, carried banners and chanted, “What do we want?… Justice. What do we want?… Justice.”
According to CBS2 Los Angeles, the rally was organized by the Trayvon Martin Foundation, which states on its website that its purpose is to “create awareness of how violent crime impacts the families of the victims and to provide support and advocacy for those families in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin.” The foundation’s statement obviously ignores the fact that the court did not find that Trayvon was murdered. Instead it ruled that George Zimmerman was found not guilty of second degree murder and manslaughter charges.
Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, announced that he was there for a reason: “It’s about being loyal to you guys because you have been so loyal to us.” Trayvon’s mother Sybrina Fulton added, “We want L.A. to know we stand with you. We understand, we support you.”
One lady at the rally said she was there because her dad was killed due to gang violence when she was four-years- old. Some came to express their solidarity and to speak out against racial profiling. “There are many people who wake up every day who don’t have the choice to decide how we are perceived by the world,” lamented Kenya Parham.
Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant spoke at a forum after the rally to help bring attention to the occasion and perhaps as a mea culpa for not showing enough support for Trayvon after the verdict. Bryant had been criticized for calling out Miami Heat players for their photo shoot of wearing Trayvon Martin-like hoodies to show support for Trayvon. Kobe said that it was wrong to support him “just because he was African American.”
On the first anniversary of the verdict, Kobe was striking a different note: “Our responsibility is more than putting a ball in a basket… but giving them the platform to voice these inspirations.”