Five-day ‘Walk for Dignity’ to Sanford begins in Jacksonville
Demands: ‘Justice for Trayvon’ and resignation of state attorney
Jacksonville, FL – Even the summer afternoon rain couldn’t stop more than 25 activists from meeting in downtown Jacksonville’s Hemming Plaza, July 22, to begin a five-day walk to Sanford, Florida. Activists took the first steps in the “Walk for Dignity – Enough is Enough” event, demanding justice for Trayvon Martin and the resignation of State Attorney Angela Corey, who prosecuted the George Zimmerman case.
Called by the Southern Movement Assembly, a network of activist groups around the South that met in Jacksonville last April, the walk will end with a large rally in Sanford. Activists from the Jacksonville-based New Jim Crow Movement, Project South, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the Coalition for Justice for Trayvon, Southerners on New Ground and other organizations are participating in the walk.
“We recognize that people are feeling outrage and heartbreak after hearing a verdict that legitimizes the public lynching of Trayvon Martin and the impunity of his murderers,” said Emery Wright, the co-director of Project South in a statement about the walk. “Our response must not be restrained. Our collective response must be ‘Enough is enough’ – our human dignity is at stake, and we will come together to demand fundamental change.”
The walk began with an energetic assembly, in which each of the walkers spoke about their reasons for participating. Activists from as far as San Antonio, Texas spoke, as did walkers from Jacksonville, all uniting around the demand for justice for Trayvon Martin and other African-American youth victimized by the racist criminal injustice system.
“We walk for dignity,” said Synobia Williams, an organizer with Project South from Jacksonville. “We walk to lift our voices and be heard, demand the rights of all people and stand our ground.”
Organizers worked to mobilize community support in Jacksonville for the walk. Several labor unions, including AFSCME and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, along with some local businesses donated water, food, coolers and other supplies.
On the first day, the protesters walked to Saint Augustine and stayed at the Saint Mary’s Missionary Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. rallied with civil rights protesters in 1964. During the Civil Rights Movement, Saint Augustine became the center of the battle against segregation.
Throughout the walk, activists hope to engage the communities in the movement for justice for Trayvon Martin and build towards the final rally in Sanford. “We are all committed to walk while we engage and empower the communities that we stop in by listening to their stories,” said Tefa Galvis, an organizer with the Coalition for Justice for Trayvon. “We’re all learning about the history of the land and the freedom movement in Florida and we’re assembling every night to figure out the next steps for our movement.”
Caravans of activists from Jacksonville will leave every day to join the walk in-progress.
The walkers plan to stop in Flagler Beach and Daytona Beach before reaching Sanford for the final rally on July 27.
“We started together and we are going to finish together,” added Galvis.