Chicagoans Rally for Justice in Trayvon Martin Case at Daley Center

Monday, 26 March 2012 16:07 Written by  Lealeah Livingston

Chicagoans gathered in protest over the killing of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Saturday afternoon at the Daley Center.

Voices and fists were raised as different speakers took to the podium and expressed how the law enforcement of Sanford, Fla. failed to take action against the shooter, and self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman.

Trayvon was returning from the store carrying a bag of Skittles and an iced tea when he was pursued and confronted by his assailant. The confrontation ended with the 17-year-old fatally shot in the chest and no arrests made.

Among the speakers at Saturday’s rally in Chicago were B96 radio host Jay Nice.

“When I walk on these streets of Chicago, I’m still a black man with a nappy head, a messed up beard and a hoodie on my head,” says Jay, wearing a Bob Marley T-shirt with locked hair and face full of facial hair. “I could very much well be Trayvon Martin on any given day of the week. My worst fear is having my mother in New York getting a phone call saying that her son had been bucked down by Chicago police because they didn’t know I was a celebrity.”

Other activists in attendance were the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) and the Black Panther Party Club (BPPC). Each group spoke on how Trayvon’s murder is the modern day Emmett Till, and how the murders of the innocent need to be stopped, and the attackers reprimanded for their actions. They also touched on how African Americans are largely targeted because of stereotypes associated with them and how we as a people need to come together to put an end to racial violence.

Even though the murder happened a little over a month ago, I’m glad the details are finally coming up front and people in Florida are actually trying to do something about it and not sweep it under the rug like previous incidents that have happened,” says Chris Fern, a student at Chicago State University.

I wasn’t alive when Emmett Till was murdered, but I have been introduced to racial profiling first hand. Even though I was born during a time when racism was supposedly a "thing of the past," it constantly rears its ugly head in today’s society. W e as a people, not just as African Americans, but all people, need to understand that even though there’s no way for hate and ignorance to be demolished, it can definitely be diminished: We should not have to worry about getting gunned down or harassed when we walk outside of our doors––and our children should never be assaulted due to their skin color, or what outfit they may have on.

Other than Trayvon’s assailant claiming self-defense, many wonder why he was released the night of the teenager's murder––especially when the recording from the incident sounds like it may contain  racist remarks.

When protestors were asked about President Obama addressing the situation, some protestors felt as if his speech lacked sincerity.

“It’s typical politician talk," says Paul Gahnberg, a teacher at Chicago State University. “His whole approach to being President had been to distance himself from black people.”

Others felt that Obama did a great job in his approach.

“He has to take precaution in the way he handles certain situations as the first African American president, and this is one of them,” says Kimberly Bowski, a social worker in Chicago.

Despite what history has written down, we ultimately have the power to change our future and make permanent changes to the way we view ourselves and each other. This rally in Chicago, the outpouring of support for Trayvon's family through social networks and photos of people from all walks of life in "hoodies," shows that we are moving toward that future.


Washington, DC and Columbia, South Carolina held rallies in support of Trayvon Martin over the weekend similar to Chicago's, and one is scheduled for Monday, March 25, in Sanford, Florida. For more coverage and breaking news on this case, visit CNN. Also, as news breaks, please posts links and videos in the comments section below. Let's continue the conversation––and the education.


Photography from Chicago's "Occupy Our Hoods" at Daley Plaza by GMO Photo Editor Billy Montgomery of Billy Montgomery Photography.

Lealeah Livingston

Lealeah Livingston

Freelance writer Lealeah Livingston is a junior at Columbia College Chicago, working toward her BA in Journalism in 2013. Although Lealeah loves to write about almost anything, she shares a particular love for the arts and health. She is also co-founder of Columbia College’s Her Campus Magazine.

She can be contacted at