Several thousand people carrying handmade signs and chanting “No justice, no peace” snaked through the streets of downtown Minneapolis Monday evening contending that the acquittal of Florida teen Trayvon Martin’s shooter is a sign of systemic racial injustice.
The crowd of diverse ages and races was peaceful but forceful.
More than a dozen speakers at the rally on the Hennepin County Government Center plaza demanded justice for Martin and Terrence Franklin, the man killed during a scuffle with Minneapolis police officers this spring. They called for people to urge authorities to use civil rights protections to pursue George Zimmerman, who shot Martin, and the Minneapolis police officers involved in Franklin’s shooting.
The investigation in the Franklin shooting has been turned over to the Hennepin County Attorney.
“I’m a young man myself, not much older than Trayvon Martin,” said James Jones, 18, of Brooklyn Center. “A lot of people are scared of us, and that’s unfair. I’m not scary. I’m a young man trying to get an education. ... I wear a hoodie every day. I am Trayvon Martin.”
Organizers expected at least 2,500 people to show up to the rally, and the numbers appeared to exceed that prediction, as marchers walked down 6th Street, across Nicollet Mall and zigzagged back onto Hennepin Avenue, halting traffic and drawing attention and support.
Pastor Brian Herron of Zion Baptist Church in Minneapolis, told the crowd to harness the sense of injustice to make the changes they wish to see.