Love’s In Need of Love Today: The Trayvon Martin Tragedy and my Million Hoodies March experience

By now, I’m sure most of you have heard about the murder of Trayvon Martin and the resulting fall out.  If not, read here

Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American teenager, was shot and killed in a gated community in Florida late last month by a white neighborhood watch captain, according to police. But the watch captain, George Zimmerman — a 28-year-old who has admitted to police that he shot the young man — still walks free. And Martin’s family is pleading for answers and demanding justice. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/08/family-of-trayvon-martin-_n_1332756.html

There was a march/rally held in Union Square yesterday in NYC.  Everyone wore their hoodies and brought signs that protested the shooting, called for George Zimmerman’s arrest, and called for the firing or resignation of Sanford, FL police chief Bill Lee. People also brought skittles and iced tea as a show of how unarmed Trayvon Martin really was. The air was electric:  People were chanting, discussing the situation in groups, several people were giving interviews to everyone from local news outlets to Inside Edition, and the like.  The crowd was just like Trayvon’s skittles:  multi-colored and multi-flavored.  There were businesspeople in suits, students in hoodies, young children with their parents, whites, blacks, hispanics, asians, indians, all there to show their support for Trayvon Martin and his family.  At around 8:30 or so, we all started to march toward Times Square.

People were chanting things like, “No Justice, No Peace” ,”We are Trayvon Martin”, and “Just Skittles and Iced Tea, don’t shoot me, don’t hurt me”.  Someone started singing Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up”  It felt good to be a part of something so positive regarding something as negative as the Trayvon Martin slaying.  In that moment, we, businesspeople and students, old and young, black and white, were unified.  We were one. Then things started to go left….

People on the streets began heckling us. I won’t get into all of them, but I’ll mention two. One guy walked right over to the group and started yelling at us to,” Go get a job”  When someone asked, “Who said that?” he proudly stuck out his chest and said, “I did!”  But instead of people ignoring him, and taking the wind out of his ignorant sails, some people walked over to him as if to engage in a fight.  I sighed a little, and at the same time, my eyes landed on a bag that bore the image of Dr. Martin Luther King’s mugshot. Irony.

Later on, a few drunken guys and their buddies stumbled past and loudly suggested that the cops shoot us like Trayvon Martin was shot.  When a few of the larger guys turned toward them, they quickly scuttled away. I sighed…again.

As we crossed the streets of New York City, many of the protesters began stopping cars in the crosswalk so that the crowd could get across. When cars honked at them, they would scream, “No Justice, No Peace!”  Some protesters went as far as to jump onto the hoods of people’s cars to stop them.  As I looked up, I began to see scores of police officers closing in.  People began yelling out the names and phone numbers of lawyers in the event that any of us got arrested. Arrested? I sighed…again.  This night was supposed to be about Trayvon Martin, and justice for his family.  This night was not supposed about “protesters” (read: fame-wh0res) trying to get arrested for trivial things like jaywalking.  Getting arrested for a sit in or riding in the front of the bus makes you a protester….NOT getting arrested for blocking traffic or jaywalking.

Soon thereafter, the heckling of the cops began.  They instructed us to get out of the street and onto the sidewalk. The same “protesters” that decided to block traffic started chanting. “Get that animal off of that horse” they yelled.  I sighed….yet again.  This protest was not about New York City police officers. This protest was about TRAYVON MARTIN. Or did they forget that? The police were not trying to keep you from protesting…they were trying to keep you from being hit by a car. If the “protesters” wanted to be angry at any police officers, they should direct their attention to one Bill Lee of the Sanford,Florida Police Department.  Write some letters to him; perhaps sign a petition to get him fired or force him to resign.  Getting arrested for jaywalking/blocking traffic/assaulting police officers seemed real dumb and not at all helpful toward the Trayvon Martin effort. Some people seemed to be in such a hurry to be arrested for a cause or arrested for any reason at all, they forgot about the very point of the rally/march. Civil disobedience for the sake of civil disobedience is stupid if it’s not forwarding your agenda….WHICH IS JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON MARTIN!!!!!!

The crowd continued to swell and the few “protesters” in the crowd got more insistent on heckling the cops. In the melee, I accidentally bumped into one of the police officers. Historically, it only takes a few bad apples for the cops to decide to escalate things and I’m quite sure if I had been one of the ones screaming about pigs and animals and F*CK the POLICE and such, my bump could have been the catalyst needed to create a whirlwind of pepperspray, fist fights and arrests. But since I wasn’t one of those, the tense moment passed. It was at that moment, however, I realized that for a few people, the rally for Trayvon Martin had long since been over. And in reality, I wasn’t quite sure what some in the crowd had come to rally for in the first place.

To bring balance, I have much love for those whose hearts AND MINDS were in the right place as they filled Union Square that night and later in Times Square.  I have much love for those who stood; silent,stoic, holding skittles and iced tea.  I even have love for the man who walked through the crowd screaming,” I have skittles and iced tea, and I’m wearing a black hoodie….I hope I don’t get shot!” I do NOT have love for those who took Trayvon’s murder as a chance to push their own personal or political agendas, or those too immature to ignore the hecklers, or for those who decided last night was a night to get arrested for no other reason than to say “I was arrested for protesting (read: jaywalking and stopping traffic) Trayvon Martin’s murder. Look how deep and serious I am” (fame-wh0res).

So, what do I want? I want justice for Trayvon Martin and I want little black boys to stop being killed for no reason. I also want healing for the deep-seated wounds that caused some to act out in anger against the hecklers last night. I also want understanding from a public to tends to shy away from CLEAR issues of race (Jeremy Lin, Trayvon Martin, the general treatment of Muslims after 9/11).  I’m not sure how and when that is going to happen, but here’s hoping it does before we destroy ourselves.

Good morn or evening friends
Here’s your friendly announcer
I have serious news to pass on to everybody
What I’m about to say
Could mean the world’s disaster
Could change your joy and laughter to tears and pain

It’s that
Love’s in need of love today
Don’t delay
Send yours in right away
Hate’s goin’ round
Breaking many hearts
Stop it please
Before it’s gone too far ~ Stevie Wonder

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Posted on March 22, 2012, in Philosophies R Us and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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