Although the march and rally for Trayvon Martin on Monday (March 26) led by leading Baltimore pastor Dr. Jamal Bryant and Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump got off to a slightly late start, the emotions were high as revelers began their trek from tiny Centennial Park to the downtown Sanford Civic Center, packing the venue with over 500 people inside.
A litany of fiery orators included Rev. Al Sharpton, U.S. Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee and a subdued yet poignant Rev. Jesse Jackson. Trayvon Martin’s parents, father Tracey and mother Sybrina Fulton, both delivered emotional pleas of justice to city officials and attendees at the civic center before making their way over to sunny Fort Mellon Park to continue the rally.
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You are risking going down as the Birmingham and Selma of the 21st century,” said a still-feisty Rev. Sharpton, who announced to the crowd he will be preaching at his mother’s funeral tomorrow in Alabama.
Other speakers included National Urban League president Marc Morial, who put Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett on notice after reminding attendees that he too once held the tough job of governing over a city but that the mayor should act as swiftly as possible. Triplett assured attendees and the guests that he intends to meet in a couple of weeks to discuss the matter publicly in a similar town hall setting.
In Fort Mellon Park, many of the attendees who did not march instead made their posts in the wide open area. A small stage was erected for speakers and just before 5:30, the entire park was packed with thousands of supporters. Police presence was high, which was to be expected given the explosiveness of the case. However, police and supporters chatted with each other and there were no signs of unrest or the like.
A rally supporter only known as Mike L. said, “it stopped being about Black and White and all that a long time ago. We out here for Trayvon, his momma and his daddy because like they say, Trayvon was our boy too. He was ours, man.”