Bay Area shout-outs held for Trayvon Martin

In the Bay Area Monday, shout-out demonstrations were held on behalf of the Florida teen shot to death.
March 26, 2012 7:41:57 PM PDT
A Bay Area shout-out was held on Monday for Trayvon Martin, the teenager killed in Florida by a Neighborhood Watch captain and the parents appealed for justice. The plea for justice from the parents of Trayvon Martin is being echoed around the country. On Monday in Oakland and San Francisco, a demonstration was held on behalf of the teenager who was shot to death after going out to buy some Skittles.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan stopped by the shout-out. The demonstration has become part of a larger movement nationwide about what many see as a racially charged killing.

The fear that anyone could easily get shot is what is driving protests like this around the country. The belief that what happened to an unarmed black teenager in Florida can happen anywhere.

"There is an unspoken air about America that you can only be in certain places, at certain times, or at certain functions and we're really a segregated society," said activist Victor Nelson.

"Here I am a pastor for the past 16 years and in ministries, have degrees behind my name, but on days I'm dressed liked this [in a hooded sweatshirt], I get treated like any other young African-American," said Rev. Joseph Bryant of the Calvary Hill Church.

These protesters gathered at San Francisco's Hall of Justice saying justice has not been done in the case of Trayvon Martin. The 17-year-old was pursued by a Neighborhood Watch captain in a gated Florida community last month, and shot to death. Jeany Duncan felt it was important to show African Americans aren't the only ones outraged.

"I believe what happened to the young man a few days ago as a murder and that it should be prosecuted and that if he weren't a young black man, this would not have happened. The man who perpetuated this would have been arrested immediately," said Duncan.

There are claims emerging that the Neighborhood Watchman, who has not been arrested, is telling police the teenager was the aggressor, who beat his head into the sidewalk. A local newspaper says witnesses are backing up that account. Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris believes the investigation was botched from the start.

"The most important thing is to get him arrested and let the process work itself out and determine what criminal offense has taken place. My view is that at the least it's a manslaughter, could be second degree murder, but it could be a voluntary manslaughter as well," said Burris.

Burris also attended the Oakland shout out at City Hall with community activists and others who are concerned about this case. A grand jury is set to convene next month and the eyes of people in the Bay Area and across the country will be watching.


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