Trayvon Martin Protests Sweep Times Square, and Spread Across the Nation
There is no justice for Trayvon Martin — that is what many Americans believe on Sunday evening.
Twenty-four hours earlier on Saturday, the nation watched in horror as the judicial system failed: a not guilty verdict was handed down in the trial. The case centered on the 2011 Trayvon Martin killing — a black teenager gunned down by the Hispanic/ white Zimmerman, which sparked a national race debate.
A social media catharsis has followed since the announcement, with thousands across the country mobilizing on Facebook and Twitter to #StandWithTrayvon.
Sunday marked the National Blackout Day in angry response to Zimmerman’s freedom. There was a tide of social media activism, with countless Facebook users changing their profile photos to blacked-out pictures, some with quotes and pictures of hoodies.
On Sunday evening in New York City, thousands of protesters flooded Times Square, part of a nation-wide movement to publically call out racial profiling, and what many see as injustice in the legal system.
The scene was the same across the country. Several hundred people rallied in Denver. Chicago, too, saw hundreds come out to protest.
In Oakland things turned violent. More than a hundred demonstrators gathered downtown to march against the verdict. But while other events that materialized across the country remained mostly peaceful, Oakland's were marred by window-smashing, flag burning and other forms of vandalism, including aggressive graffiti declaring "Kill Zimmerman" and "F*ck the Police."
An NAACP petition for Trayvon Martin asking for an intervention from Attorney General Eric Holder was being circulated, with nearly 450,000 signitures as of Sunday evening. The online traffic to the peition page on NAACP.org was so large that it crashed the site.
The storm of debate swiraled on Sunday on social media, as many Facebook and Twitter users refused to accept that a 28-year-old man can follow a 17-year-old honor student with college dreams only to shoot him and claim self-defense.
The Trayvon Martin blackout is a blend of social media activism and non-violent protest. Early Sunday morning as unrest over Zimmerman's acquittal grew, young people gathered in massive crowds across the nation: Washington D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sanford, Atlanta, Chicago, and Philadelphia. More protests for Trayvon Martin are scheduled for later today in New York City and Washington D.C.
Blackout rally chants of “No justice!” and “Hoodies up!” are central themes – the latter a nod to Zimmerman’s infamous 911 call that Trayvon Martin looked like he “was up to no good” simply because he was a black teenager wearing a hooded sweatshirt on a rainy February evening.
To find a rally or Trayvon Martin protest near you, just log-on to Twitter or Facebook and use the hashtag #NoJustice or #HoodiesUp.
This story was updated late Sunday.