Monique Hendrix says Trayvon Martin could have been her child. After George Zimmerman’s acquittal on Saturday evening, she decided to go and protest.
Hendrix and her daughter, Ava, 5, went to the Dollar Store to get posters then walked to Westlake Center, where a group of about 50 people gathered shortly after the verdict was announced. As people around her chanted “Justice for Trayvon” and “Zimmerman was guilty,” Ava held a sign: “I am Trayvon.” Her mother wrote “No justice for African-Americans” on another poster.
“I have trust in the justice system, but this was unreal,” said Hendrix, who lives in North Seattle. “This is a humanitarian thing, not a race thing. It’s an injustice.”
“We Are All Trayvon Martin” rallies were held across the nation by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, according to Orpheus Reed, a staff member at Revolution Books, one of the local endorsers of the protest. The group had planned in advance to protest the verdict and spread the word through Facebook.
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida, was acquitted of all charges Saturday in connection with the shooting death of Martin, an unarmed black teenager.
“We expected a not-guilty verdict, because of the way Trayvon was being portrayed,” Reed said. “Still, it’s hard to take. We wanted to show this happens everywhere. People like Trayvon have a right to justice”
Many people walking by didn’t know about the verdict, according to Cynthia Whetsell, an organizer for October 22 Coalition, a national group concerned about police brutality and a local rally endorser. She said some were in shock.
“What happened to Trayvon was a modern-day lynching,” Whetsell said. “People need to take a stand for our youth. We are here to say that this was not an isolated incident.”
Around 9 p.m., a group started started parading out of Westlake Center to neighboring streets. A woman with a megaphone yelled “Are you going to forget Trayvon?” The group responded “no, we are all Trayvon.”
“I’m just one voice, a regular person, but I knew we had to come,” Hendrix said.
Reed said the group planned to meet again Sunday for another rally.