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Thousands attend Sanford rally for Trayvon Martin

12:14 AM, Mar 23, 2012   |    comments
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Sanford, Florida -- Thursday evening Reverend Al Sharpton, the President of the National Action Network, was part of a National Rally for Justice in memory of Trayvon Martin. 

The rally was going to be held at a church but it wasn't large enough to accommodate the thousands of people who wanted to attend.  Instead, the event was held near downtown Sanford at Ft. Mellon Park.

Trayvon Martin is the unarmed Black teenager who was shot and killed in a gated community in Sanford nearly a month ago by a White neighborhood watch captain, 28-year-old George Zimmerman.

Despite Rev. Sharpton learning of his mother's death Thursday morning, he told the crowd he had to attend because she would have wanted that.

He said, "One side of me said don't come but the other side of me said my mother raised me to stand up for justice. My mother would have been ashamed of me if I wasn't here. This mother has to bury her son that is unnatural."

Sharpton brought politicians, civil rights activists and celebrities with him and he didn't just talk to the crowd he encouraged them to donate thousands of dollars to Trayvon Martin's family. He said Trayvon's mother and father have missed a lot of work in the days after their son's death and they need financial help.

The crowd slipped checks and cash into bright orange buckets that were passed throughout the crowd. Many of the lawmakers and celebrities donated thousands of dollars from the stage.

Sharpton said, "We're going to finance our own movement."

A hush fell over the crowd and some cried as Trayvon's mother Sybrina Fulton spoke at the podium. She poured her heart out to the crowd. 

With tears in her eyes Fulton said, "I stand up before you today not knowing how I'm walking right now because my heart hurts for my son. Trayvon is my son. Trayvon is your son. I just want to say thank you. Thank you for all your support."

Many people in the audience wore hoodies while others brought Skittles candies with them.

Reverend Sharpton told the crowd, "You cannot defend yourself against a pack of Skittles and iced tea. Don't talk to us like we're stupid. Don't talk to us like we're ignorant. We love our children just like you love yours. Lock him up!"

There were Blacks and Whites at the rally with one goal in mind. They are demanding the arrest of George Zimmerman. U.S.

"What has happened here is not acceptable here, nowhere in Florida, nowhere in the country, and nowhere in the world. I only want one thing and it's real simple. I want an arrest," said Representative Corrine Brown, (D) Florida District 3.

When the crowd started to boo and yell "liar" when Sanford's Mayor, Jeff Triplett, spoke to the crowd giving his condolences to Trayvon's family, Congresswoman Brown asked him to come back to the stage.  She told the crowd to respect Triplett because after a 5-hour meeting with him he agreed to release the 9-1-1 tapes.

She also praised Mayor Triplett for flying out to Washington, D.C. the next day to meet with her and other lawmakers along with the Department of Justice.

Michael Baisden, host of the Michael Baisden Show, told the crowd, "You can lock up Michael Vick for killing dog and we can't get justice for a young black boy. That ain't right."

Civil Rights activist, Martin Luther King, III told the crowd, "This is not a one-day event but we will continue to come until justice is done." 

Organizers of the rally say this is really just the beginning, they plan to attend a city commissioners meeting on Monday, with Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Lewis, retired Hall of Fame NBA player Patrick Ewing and civil rights leader Jesse Jackson.







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Tammie Fields, 10 News

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