From A World to Win News Service;
The acquittal of George Zimmerman, the gun-carrying neighbourhood vigilante who murdered the Black teenager Trayvon Martin, sent waves of anger rolling across the U.S.
During the hours while the jury was deliberating the case, vigils and rallies were held in many American cities to await the verdict. The jury accepted Zimmerman's argument that he shot Martin in self-defence. As soon as the judge told Zimmerman he could take back his gun and walk out of the courtroom a free man on the night of 13 July, marches, demonstrations and other forms of protest broke out, including in Sanford, Florida, the small Southern town where the killing took place.
That night there were major protests in San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles in California; Chicago, Illinois; Atlanta, Georgia; Washington; Harlem, New York; and many other places. The following day some 5,000 people marched through various parts of Manhattan, gathering support as they went.
As described by Revolution, newspaper of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, "At times the march went against the traffic, people walking between the cars as drivers honked in support. People chanted, 'We are all Trayvon Martin' and 'No Justice, No Peace'. Started by revolutionaries, hundreds took up the chant 'The whole system is guilty' on their own. As the march went through the crowded streets of Manhattan into Times Square, many of the onlookers cheered in agreement.
"The marchers were an incredibly diverse array of people – young and older, from the 'hood, including hard-edged youth, along with people of all nationalities. For many, this was their first political action. There seemed to be a pleasant surprise among many Black people that many white people had come out to demonstrate.
"Protesters filled the streets of Times Square with thousands of tourists taking pictures and video recording the march. A rally was held in the middle of Times Square with people climbing on top of five-foot-high garbage containers with a bullhorn. Twice revolutionaries addressed the crowd, calling on people to resist this open season on Black and Latino youth… pointing to the reality that stopping outrages like the murder of Trayvon Martin, the slow genocide against Black people, and all the system's crimes once and for all requires revolution, nothing less… and calling on people to get into Bob Avakian. At one point, several hundred people continued the march, heading for Harlem."
Following are excerpts from an article on the eve of the trial, before the verdict. "Lies, Slanders... and the Cold-Blooded Lynching of Trayvon Martin" appeared in the issue of Revolution dated 14 July. (www.revcom.us)
...Trayvon Martin was a Black teenager gunned down by a vigilante killer just after 7 pm on the evening of February 26, 2012. He was walking to his father's house with a can of ice tea and a bag of candy.
George Zimmerman knew nothing about Trayvon Martin, never even heard of him. But he thought he knew him. All Zimmerman had to see was a young Black man in a hoodie [hooded sweatshirt] walking home with a snack, and he "knew" that Trayvon Martin was a "suspect". He "knew" Trayvon Martin was a "fucking punk." He "knew" Trayvon was "a fucking asshole" who "always gets away with it."
...And through this all, Zimmerman has acted as if he has a whole system behind him. For good reason. The Trayvon Martins of this country (and this world) have been branded suspects by a system that has no future for them. From endless depictions of them as thugs on TV and in the movies, to the institutionalized criminalization of them through "stop-and-frisk", to the schools-to-prison pipeline to mass incarceration, they are a generation for whom this system has no future.
...But Trayvon Martin was a human being! He had a right to live, to have a future, and so do millions like him. And so the stakes of this trial are truly decisive to the kind of world people will live in.
...As the prosecution presented its case in this trial, over and over it has been revealed how Zimmerman coldly murdered Trayvon. Evidence has come out that Zimmerman got out of his car, followed Trayvon when the non-emergency dispatch operator told him not to, lied to the dispatch operator to cover his tracks as he stalked Trayvon, and shot Trayvon Martin point-blank through the heart.
...This was most true of Rachel Jeantel, Trayvon's friend since grade school, who was talking on the phone with him when Zimmerman began stalking Trayvon. Rachel Jeantel's testimony is some of the most substantial in this case, and she is one of the more credible witnesses. The time and length of her phone calls with Trayvon as he walked towards his father's home are well documented, and they corroborate most closely with all the available evidence. And these are precisely the facts that are "lost"or "forgotten" in much of the media commentary on Rachel that has focused instead on her appearance, her demeanour and her attitude.
...What made the murder of Trayvon Martin different from the murders of other Black and Latino youth was that despite the police treatment of Trayvon's murder as legitimate self-defence by George Zimmerman, despite the fact that no charges were immediately filed against Zimmerman, despite the treatment of this case in the Florida media as "just another killing of a Black youth who was somewhere he shouldn't have been", the story of a 17-year-old kid wearing a hoodie who was shot down while he was walking to his father's home with a soft drink and a bag of candy became national news – and a focus of national outrage and protest.
...In 1955, Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Black youth from Chicago was lynched by white men while visiting relatives in Mississippi. His body was horribly mutilated, weighted with a 70-pound fan, and dumped in the Tallahatchie River. The killers were not charged.
...Emmett's mother, Mamie Till, courageously insisted on an open casket at her son's funeral, so people could see what had happened to him. The widespread outrage and anger that spread throughout the country over the savage death of Emmett Till became a spark that catalysed thousands of people in a growing struggle to end the injustices perpetrated on Black people.
...The cold-blooded murder – the modern-day lynching – of Trayvon Martin also sparked deep and widespread outrage throughout U.S. society. And now we're at a crucial turning point in the struggle for Justice for Trayvon.