Under a searing noonday sun, the mother of Trayvon Martin addressed a throng of supporters Saturday at a rally in lower Manhattan in New York City telling them that she is committed to work to prevent the tragedy of her son’s death from happening to other young people.
The “Justice for Trayvon” rally was organized by the National Action Network and its president, the Rev. Al Sharpton. The rally was attended not just by Sybrina Fulton, the mother of the 17-year-old Miami student whose death has galvanized many across the United States. It was also attended by entertainers Jay Z and his wife, Beyoncé.
In addition, the event drew nearly every significant official in New York City, from Congressmen Charles Rangel and Gregory Meeks to mayoral candidates City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John C. Liu and former comptroller William C. Thompson Jr.
Jay Z and Beyoncé did not speak at the rally, but the announcement of their presence drew a thunderous roar from the crowd. “We are here just to show our support,” Jay Z told BET.com.
The emotional anchor of the rally was Fulton herself. "Today it was my son. Tomorrow it might be yours," she warned the crowd.
She also said that the was intent on entering a new phase in her life in the aftermath of her son’s death and the George Zimmerman verdict as an advocate against gun violence and legislation such as Florida’s controversial stand your ground law, which enables anyone to legally use deadly force if he or she feels imminent danger.
“Trayvon was a child and I think sometimes it gets lost,” Fulton said. “Not only do I vow to you to do what I can for Trayvon. I promise that I’m going to work hard for your children as well.”
The New York event was just one of many such rallies held across the nation Saturday, one week after a jury of six women announced a verdict that found Zimmerman not guilty in the killing of the unarmed Trayvon Martin February of 2012.
Trayvon's father, Tracy Martin, attended a rally in Miami, one of roughly 100 scheduled to take place on Saturday.
The verdict drew strong reactions across the country and led to President Obama offering deeply emotional remarks on Friday about the verdict and the continued racial issues that were brought to the forefront as a result of the death of Trayvon Martin.
The New York rally, which took place near the city’s police headquarters and City Hall, followed another rally at the National Action Network’s headquarters in Harlem. That event, too, was attended by a number of New York political figures, including former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, who is running for New York City comptroller.
BET National News - Keep up to date with breaking news stories from around the nation, including headlines from the hip hop and entertainment world. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
(Photo: BET.com/Jonathan Hicks)