Friday, July 19, 2013
Over 1200 peaceful protesters marched from Lake Eola to the Orange County Courthouse on Wednesday July 17th to honor Trayvon Martin the 17 year old who went to the store to get some skittles and was shot to death by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford. George Zimmerman had been found not guilty around 10pm this past Saturday by an all female jury in the shooting. Shock and outrage swept the nation. Protests turned violent in Los Angeles and Oakland, California and across the nation this week. There were no reported problems at the Orlando march. Helicopters grew louder as the protest approached the courthouse. It had been raining hard as I walked towards the courthouse but the storm clouds passed allowing me to sketch when I arrived.
As protesters filled the plaza in front of the courthouse, they chanted, "What do we want?" and everyone replied "Justice". "When do we want it?!" "NOW!!" Protesters carried signs saying, "No Justice, No Peace" and "We are Trayvon." Some protesters wore hoodies which is what Trayvon wore when he was profiled by Zimmerman as someone up to no good.
Natalie Jackson, an attorney for Trayvon's parents urged protesters to "vote and raise your voices against Florida's 'stand your ground' law". This law makes it possible for a vigilante to be innocent if they at anytime feel threatened. Travon tried to run, but Zimmerman followed. At some point the teen had to defend himself, but he had no weapon, Zimmerman did. The law needs to change. Florida is once more a joke because of its warped and backwards justice system. Olumide Ajileye shouted out, from the courthouse steps, "Everyone needs to get involved, this does not end today!"
Someone told me that Zimmerman might even make money on this travesty by suing an NBC show that edited down the 911 call he made on the night of the shooting. The edited audio made it seem obvious that Zimmerman was profiling the black teenager. Zimmerman could become a multi millionaire in a civil case against the media. Reader, Abbe Wise Arenson , suggested a new state motto, which she picked up from a pundit, "gun'shine state" - we need reform!
Police officers kept walking over to see what I was up to. The first officer liked the sketch and each officer in turn came over to look as word spread. I was just glad they didn't tell me to get out of the bushes where I was sitting. When the hour long rally ended, protesters quietly drifted away. When I was two blocks away, I realized I forgot my umbrella back where I had been sketching, When I returned it was still there. I had to get to a final dress rehearsal for "Violin(ce)" at the Shakespeare Theater.