Jay Z and Justin Timberlake took a moment out of their recent show at New York City’s Yankee Stadium to honor the late teenager Travyon Martin. The duo was in New York City this weekend for the latest stops on their co-headlining Legends of the Summer Tour.
Jay Z and Timberlake closed their Friday show with a performance of Jay Z’s “Forever Young,” dedicating the song to the 17-year-old Martin who died last year.Take a look at the duo’s dedication below.
Thousands of demonstrators gathered in dozens of cities today to mourn Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager shot to death in a confrontation with a neighborhood watch volunteer early last year, and to add their voices to a debate on race that his death has set off. The gatherings began around noon EST at federal buildings across the country. They came a week after George Zimmerman was acquitted by a court in Florida of Mr. Martin’s killing; days after angry protests erupted in the wake of that verdict; and hours after President Obama said, in a heartfelt address, that “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”
Mr. Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, addressing dozens of people outside the federal courthouse in Miami, said, “I vowed to Trayvon when he was laying in his casket that I would use every ounce of energy in my body to seek justice for him.
“I will continue to fight for Trayvon until the day I die,” he added. “Not only will I be fighting for Trayvon, I will be fighting for your child as well.” At a rally in New York, over cries of “We’re all Trayvon Martin,” the Rev. Al Sharpton, one of the organizers of the gatherings, told a crowd of hundreds that Mr. Martin’s death should prompt a movement. Mr. Sharpton said that he wanted to ensure an aggressive federal investigation of Mr. Zimmerman and fight against Florida’s broad self-defense laws. “Last Saturday we cried,” he said, “but this Saturday we march.”
Ira Acree spent two hours passing out fliers in front of the Dirksen Federal Building in downtown Chicago, hoping to spread the word about a “Justice for Trayvon” vigil at noon Saturday — one of at least 100 planned in cities across the nation. On the way back to his car, Acree, a pastor, spotted a television in the lobby of the parking garage. A crowd had gathered in front, as if “watching the football game,” Acree said. President Obama was speaking.
In his first comments since a six-woman jury acquitted George Zimmerman of murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Obama spoke frankly and reflectively, relating his experiences with race and racial profiling. “Trayvon Martin could have been me,” the President said. Obama’s earnest words moved Acree almost to tears. “I just think that the president’s words may help whites across the nation at least understand us,” Acree said. “And be a little bit more emphathetic toward our actions tomorrow.” Acree chairs the board of a social justice group in Chicago called the Leader’s Network, which is helping organize Saturday’s vigil.
The 100-city “Justice for Trayvon” vigils, which the Rev. Al Sharpton announced Tuesday on the steps of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., will be staged mostly at federal court buildings across the country. In California, rallies are scheduled in Los Angeles, Oakland, Palmdale, Riverside, Sacramento, San Francisco and the Monterey County city of Seaside. Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, and Martin’s brother, Jahvaris, will attend a rally in New York City, along with Sharpton. Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, is attending a vigil in Miami.
As we write, a peaceful protest march for Trayvon Martin is occurring in Los Angeles that started at LaCienega Park and is now on Wilshire Blvd. heading into Beverly Hills. Good Black News is on the scene covering the event, and grabbed a short interview with rally organizer Patrisse Cullors (see video above) before the march started.
Cullors and others started the Justice 4 Trayvon Martin in L.A. Collective out of the Leimert Park protests that occurred in the past few days, with the objective of offering clear local and national demands to end racial policies that affect black and brown communities. Their slogan is #BlackLivesMatter and below is their list of demands:
Justice 4 Trayvon Martin, Los Angeles Demands:
1. Federal Charges against Zimmerman. The Department of Justice must file civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman.
2. Pardon Marissa Alexander. Ms. Alexander comes from the same state as Zimmerman, she did not hurt anyone, she was protecting herself against someone who abused her, she was traumatized, she stood her ground and the law wasn’t afforded to her.
3. No More New Jail and Prison Construction. Jails and prisons draw critical funds away from poor, working class communities of color. The business of prisons generates the need to criminalize Black & Brown bodies.
4. End Gang Injunctions & Database. The rationalization of gang injunctions follows the same rational of racial profile that allowed for Trayvon Martin to be hunted and murdered.
5. Community Control Over All Law Enforcement With an Elected Civilian Review Board. The families of people with stolen lives by law enforcement should have their cases re-opened, reinvestigated, and given reparations. These are our tax dollars, our community; we should have a say of what safety looks like.
According to newsone.com, on Sunday Attorney General Eric Holder spoke to the NAACP regarding the Department of Justice’s ongoing inquiry into filing federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman in the aftermath of his acquittal in the Trayvon Martin trial. Holder may not have been direct about the possibility of the DOJ bringing suit, but he was direct about his opinions on gun violence, inequality and the danger of “Stand Your Ground” Laws:
Today – starting here and now – it’s time to commit ourselves to a respectful, responsible dialogue about issues of justice and equality – so we can meet division and confusion with understanding, with compassion, and ultimately with truth. It’s time to strengthen our collective resolve to combat gun violence but also time to combat violence involving or directed toward our children – so we can prevent future tragedies. And we must confront the underlying attitudes, mistaken beliefs, and unfortunate stereotypes that serve too often as the basis for police action and private judgments.
Separate and apart from the case that has drawn the nation’s attention, it’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods. These laws try to fix something that was never broken. There has always been a legal defense for using deadly force if – and the “if” is important – no safe retreat is available.
But we must examine laws that take this further by eliminating the common sense and age-old requirement that people who feel threatened have a duty to retreat, outside their home, if they can do so safely. By allowing and perhaps encouraging violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety. The list of resulting tragedies is long and – unfortunately – has victimized too many who are innocent. It is our collective obligation – we must stand our ground – to ensure that our laws reduce violence, and take a hard look at laws that contribute to more violence than they prevent.
The woman behind the Twitter and Change.org campaigns that put Juror B37‘s book deal to a screeching halt is New York-bred Genie Lauren. Twitter and Facebook newsfeeds went ablaze with outrage last night as the unidentified juror expressed support for George Zimmerman during her interview with CNN. Lauren was also angry and upset while watching the prime-time interview — but decided that her emotions would be better vested in organizing people on social media.
“I was angry and I didn’t think it was right that someone would make money off of this tragedy–especially after they let Zimmerman go free,” Lauren told NewsOne. “I didn’t think that was right at all.” It didn’t take Lauren long to realize that many others didn’t feel it was right, either. Right after watching the CNN interview, Lauren, who says she had around 1,600 followers before organizing the book boycott, sent out a tweet asking people to help her find the publisher. The feedback was immediate, something that emboldened her to push even harder. “For the first time, it felt like I wasn’t powerless,” Lauren said.
Using Google as her guide, Lauren quickly found the literary agency that was backing Juror B37′s deal; soon after, she got the name of the agent, Sharlene Martin, and published the information. And in order to show how determined she was to get the book canned, Lauren tweeted this:
This is only the beginning. I, personally, won’t ease up until you are no longer the literary agent for B37. @sharlenemartin
After getting a Twitter movement going, Lauren, 29, created a Change.org campaign, “Sharlene Martin: Drop Juror B37 from Martin Literary Management,” which so far has 1,346 signatures. Martin’s e-mail was included in the petition; the agent reached out to Lauren an hour later via Change.org. Then, via @sharlenemartin, Juror B37 released a statement:
In the wake of the George Zimmerman acquittal, the singer said he would not be performing in the Sunshine State until its Stand Your Ground law is “abolished.” He also said he would not be performing in any other state that recognizes the law, which some say contributed to Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012.
“I decided today that until the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again,” Wonder said Sunday while performing in Quebec City. “As a matter of fact, wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform in that state or in that part of the world.” Some have argued that the law played no role in the acquittal. However, The Atlantic‘s Ta-Nehisi Coates pointed out that it was cited in the jury instructions.
Meanwhile, Wonder also called for his fans’ support of his boycott. “The truth is that — for those of you who’ve lost in the battle for justice, wherever that fits in any part of the world — we can’t bring them back,” he said. “What we can do is we can let our voices be heard. And we can vote in our various countries throughout the world for change and equality for everybody. That’s what I know we can do.” (Watch Wonder’s full announcement below.)
Protests have broken out in major U.S. cities including New York and Los Angeles since the jury rendered its not-guilty verdict last week. Recording artists including Beyonce, Young Jeezy, Wyclef Jean and Lil Scrappy have already paid tribute to Martin.
In New York City on Sunday afternoon, hundreds of demonstrators faced temperatures that nearly hit 90 degrees to gather in Union Square for a “Justice 4 Trayvon” rally. “This is a show of strength, but it’s also a show of solidarity with the family because last night, what happened, was complete disrespect to them,” said Imani Henry, an activist with the People’s Power Assembly. “We want to show love and respect to them.”
Some in the crowd said they were still in shock over the verdict. “I’ve been speechless all night, I couldn’t sleep,” said Kelly Knight, a Brooklyn resident who came for the protest. “I have a young daughter, and I thought, if it happened to him, it could happen to her,” she said.
Local churches across the country were also organizing rallies and urging supporters to wear hoodies in honor of Martin, who was wearing a black hoodie when Zimmerman shot him in the chest on Feb. 26, 2012. Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self-defense after the teen attacked him.
In Sanford, Fla., where the shooting took place, demonstrators continued to hold rallies well into Sunday evening. Along with expressing solidarity with Martin, many held signs calling for an end to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows people fearing for their lives to use deadly force if they believe their lives are at risk.
In the Florida state capital of Tallahassee on Sunday, roughly 200 protesters, some wearing hoodies, sang songs of justice and carried signs that said “Racism is Not Dead.”