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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 30, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 13
Seattle rally for Trayvon Martin draws 3,000
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Seattle rally for Trayvon Martin draws 3,000

by Lincoln Rose - Special to the SGN

A rally demanding justice in the February 26th murder of Trayvon Martin drew a large crowd to Seattle's Greater Mount Baker Baptist Church on Sunday. The rally was one of many that have happened across the country in the wake of this racially motivated shooting. The church was filled beyond capacity. Demonstrators lined the walls, some carrying signs that said, 'I am Trayvon Martin.' Hundreds more strained to hear the speakers from out on the sidewalk.

Among the speakers was Martin's cousin, Cedric President-Turner. He shared messages and updates from the rest of his family and encouraged the crowd to continue to work for justice in this case, including repeal of the so-called 'Stand Your Ground' laws in Florida and many other states (including Washington). These laws allow the use of lethal force in public if a person feels that their life is in danger. Pastor Kenneth Ransfer compared Martin's murder to the murder of Emmett Till, but emphasized the fact that justice, unlike people, cannot be murdered.

After the gathering, Martin's family, local clergy, and Seattle NAACP representatives led everyone down to Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, where more speakers were heard, including the Rev. Harriet Walden. Walden is the president of a Seattle group called Mothers for Police Accountability, and resided in Sanford, Florida, at one time.

I was able to talk to Reverend Walden later over the phone.

Lincoln Rose: How do you think Sunday's rally went?

Reverend Walden: I thought there was a great turnout! People were really engaged in the issues. Everyone was concerned about George Zimmerman not being arrested yet. I don't think the Sanford police thought Trayvon's case would get the national attention it's gotten.

Rose: Will there be more support for Trayvon happening in Seattle?

Walden: Yes, and I hope it's a springboard to other issues around violence. There's a lot of work to do here in Seattle, too.

Rose: Do you think some of the initial response will fade once Zimmerman is arrested?

Walden: No. There's a big difference between an arrest and a conviction. People will have to keep the pressure on. Nothing happens in America without pressure.

Rose: At Sunday's rally, you said, 'Our blackness is not a crime.' Can you say more about that, please?

Walden: Black people have been judged by the color of our skin. We've been judged inferior. When we were slaves, we were inferior, but we were property. Black people have been suspects as long as we have been pushing for our freedom and rights. We have a right to be human, and to be known for our contributions. The problem with the lie of a post-racial society is it's programming so you won't have a keen eye for racism.

Rose: If someone wants to get more involved in this work, is there something they can do?

Walden: They can call us at Mothers for Police Accountability. We have a LOT of work to do, and community meetings coming up. Our phone line is (206) 380-1710.

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