Winston-Salem rallies against Zimmerman verdict
Winston-Salem, NC – On July 16, nearly 1000 people came together on Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. to rally in solidarity of Trayvon Martin and to express their outrage at racist vigilante George Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict. The event was organized by Nicole Little, of the Daryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice.
Starting at the parking lot of Mechanics and Farmers Bank, several organizers jumped onto the back of a truck and spoke on the injustice that was committed in the Zimmerman case. Larry Little, former Black Panther and city councilmember, pointed out the similarities between Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till, saying, “The all white jury in Mississippi found these murderers not guilty of killing Emmett Till. And now an all white jury in Sanford, Florida, has found George Zimmerman not guilty for murdering Trayvon Martin.” He added, “We have to take on the injustice done to Trayvon Martin. Young people, this is your modern-day Emmett Till struggle.”
Freedom songs were sung by the crowd, like Ella’s Song by Bernice Reagon, singing “We who believe in freedom cannot rest,” which was composed in honor of Ella Baker, an African American civil rights activist in the 1930s. In between each speaker the crowd started chanting, “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”
“It’s great to defend and to have a good defense,” says William Cox, activist and organizer of Occupy Winston-Salem. “But we need to be on the offense, or they’ll be on the offense. And that’s what’s going on right now. We can fight this and we can win this. I know I’m speaking to the choir, but we need a motivated and fired up crowd ready to fight back!”
Cox continues, “It’s about symbols, isn’t it? It’s about a travesty which is the reality. And the symbol of a Black male, it can be taken out of commission at the drop of a hat. And what is it? It’s the symbol of the war they have right now. It’s an economic, a social, a cultural and a racist war. And we’re going to win this war!”
By 8:30 p.m. the crowd gathered together in prayer for Trayvon Martin and his family and then began marching up the road, chanting “No Justice? No Peace!” The sound of passersby honking their horns nonstop in solidarity shook the streets of Winston-Salem. Fists were raised and signs were hanging out of car windows, showing that not only were 1000 protesting the Zimmerman verdict, but the entire Black and Brown communities of Winston-Salem were with them as well.
When asked on how well the event went and what is to come later, Nicole Little stated, “I’m ecstatic about it. I’m not going to say that I was expecting this many people to come, but I’m absolutely happy that they did. It shows that I’m not alone. Everyone here, and the community of Winston-Salem, wish to express their voice. And so this event allowed them to do just that.”
“Next week,” Little continued, “I plan on working here to help develop a Youth Coalition so that the youth who want to know more about public policy or about all the injustice currently taking place or being fought back, bills that are attacking citizens of Winston-Salem or in the state of North Carolina, can get together, begin organizing, and become the activists they want to be.”