As has been the case throughout the country in the wake of the Trayvon Martin case, passionate protests have taken place in the Bay area in recent days. News & Politics Editor Mitch Perry and photographer Shanna Gillette have been present to record the rage, sadness and calls for action the case has inspired. Here are just a few examples; you can continue following the case and the reactions to it on cltampa.com/news.
“It’s tough, because you always want the next generation to live in a society that’s better than what you were brought up in. As you’re coming up, all those movements, all those marches that happened before, were better for us. But then of course, you have incidents like this which let us know that we take one step forward and two steps back.” —Will Smith, 33, with his 6-year-old son at a rally in Tampa’s Al Lopez Park, March 24.
“It demonstrates that all these years later, even with a black president, you still have pervasive racism, pervasive cultural biases and people who are locked into that warped zone.” —Civil rights activist Sevell Brown, before a march from the Poynter Institute to downtown St. Petersburg, March 31.
“I’ll tell you what. I’ve got four kids. You go look at their Facebook pages, there’s some stuff on there where they’re making intimidating faces. That’s what kids do. It’s just nuts to me to try take one picture and say, ‘Oh, this was a bad kid’ from one picture. This was a kid walking back to the store. It’s crazy.” —St. Petersburg City Councilman Charlie Gerdes at the March 31 rally, referring to photos of the 17-year-old Martin in which he looks more intimidating than in the photos that filled the television airwaves after his death first made national news.
“I’m not against guns for hunting, and of course, Tallahassee is a rural area… maybe they don’t worry so much until it affects them. It might take generations before everyone has had an issue with someone being shot or being unduly impacted by guns.” —Wendell Wilson, 54, at the St. Pete rally.
“We look at it as beyond Trayvon Martin, before Trayvon Martin. We gotta get organized now to stop more Trayvon Martins.” —Chimurenga Waller of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, before their own St. Petersburg rally on March 31.
“If George Zimmerman is claiming self-defense under Stand Your Ground, then the hand of our Legislature may as well have been on the gun that killed Trayvon.” —Dr. Joyce Hamilton, director of the Mid-Florida Regional office of the ACLU, at a March 26 news conference at USF’s MLK Plaza.
“I’m trying my best as a community leader to defuse some of this, but there are many people right now who want to take the law into their own hands. I don’t want to see buildings burning. I don’t want to see these types of actions going. But until justice is rendered to the black community, you leave us no other choice. We’re like the cat in the corner. We’re going to come out scratching from now on.” —Hillsborough county community activist Michelle Williams, at the town hall meeting March 28.
“46 times he made a call,
46 times he wanted to see a brother fall,
46 times he was predisposed to blow a brother away,
46 times he dreamed that day,
46 times his itchy finger was on the trigger,
46 times evil oozed from his soul,
After 46 times, Zimmerman lost control,
46 times he polished his 9mm gun,
the 47th time, Trayvon Martin was done.”
—WMNF radio talk-show host and poet Otis Anthony at a town hall meeting at the 34th Street Church of God in Tampa on March 28. His poem refers to George Zimmerman and the 46 times he called 911 as a neighborhood watchman.
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