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No Justice, No Peace

by Stacey Linehan, posted 04/09/2012

Over 200 marchers, comprised of students and local community members rallied and walked in clusters from their respective locations towards the Student Union on April 4th, 2012 for a powerful gathering in the name of Trayvon Martin.

Chanting “We are Trayvon,” “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now,” and “No justice. No peace,” voices came together to mourn the death of Martin and inspire and promote advocacy for a more just future.

Wearing their hoods to match his style of dress on the day he was shot, some protesters also carried Arizona Ice Tea and Skittles, the same items Martin was carrying home from a nearby connivence store in Sanford, FL on the night of the shooting.

Supporters were pleading for justice and the arrest of George Zimmerman who shot Martin in what he claimed to be self-defense. The neighborhood watch coordinator claimed to be approached from behind and after a few words of exchange, Martin had punched him down.

The successful rally was put on by the UMass’ Black Student Union (BSU) and was organized in just a few days. Once residential area South West had marched up to the Student Union and had completed the gathering, current BSU President Wildlynn Louis addressed the crowd with tears in her eyes. She excused her tears as she explained their presence, tears of joy for the success on the event. “I did not think that this many people would come,” she said, “Thank you.”

Various members of BSU spoke out, voicing their opinions on the matter and prospects for the future. Rosa Clemente-Delrow, runner for vice president in 2008 on the Green Party ballot, talked about how she was individually affected by authorities in concerns with her race. “The only way this stops is when we build a movement – when we feel the pain, and we decide to do something,” said Clemente.

Former SGA President Yevin Roh stepped up to the mic and poured a splash of his iced tea in the ground in memory of Martin. He asked, “What if Trayvon wasn’t a young black man? It’s victim blaming. A skirt is not an invitation to rape. A hoodie is not an invitation to kill.” This comment seemed to have put a lot in perspective for the audience whose applauds seemed to gain volume.

Although the outdoor event was teased with some rain, the crowd was not scared away and was reminded that Martin, too, was left in the rain.