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Trayvon Martin Solidarity March in Palm Coast Saturday as Protests Elsewhere Continue

| July 19, 2013

The march planned for Saturday morning in Palm Coast aims to replicate a similar solidarity march held on March 31, 2012, down Belle Terre Parkway. (© FlaglerLive)

The march planned for Saturday morning in Palm Coast aims to replicate a similar solidarity march held on March 31, 2012, down Belle Terre Parkway. (© FlaglerLive)

A solidarity march for Trayvon Martin in the aftermath of the not-guilty verdict in George Zimmerman’s trial is scheduled for Palm Coast Saturday, starting at 8:30 a.m. from the Kohl’s parking lot on Belle Terre Parkway.

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The route will follow Palm Coast Parkway west, turning around at U.S.1 and returning on Palm Coast Parkway east to Kohl’s. It follows a small march held in South Bunnell last Sunday, and innumerable, though never massive, marches held across the country since the verdict late on July 11. For Palm Coast, Saturday’s will be the second such solidarity march, the first dating back to March 21, 2012. That one drew well over 100 people and followed a route from Kohl’s south on Belle Terre and back.

The Saturday morning march is being organized by Valerie Ottley, a retired Palm Coast resident of 22 years who is herself a neighborhood watch coordinator: eight years ago she organized the neighborhood watch group at Indian Trails. The irony is not lost on her that George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed the unarmed Martin in Sanford, was the neighborhood watch coordinator at the gated community where Martin lived.

“I am a neighborhood watch coordinator, but that has nothing to do with it,” Ottley said. “I’m a concerned citizen of Palm Coast.”

She said she decided to hold the march because the outcome of the trial “weighed heavily” on her. She called the sheriff’s office (Sheriff Jim Manfre is a member of the NAACP) to secure permission for the march. “This is just a peaceful march asking people if they want to support this, or whatever,” Ottley said, citing, among other concerns, the state’s permissive Stand Your Ground self-defense law, which has been drawing acute attention from critics and supporters since the verdict, and triggering calls to tourists, cultural organizations and conventions to boycott Florida.

Students who call themselves the Dream Defenders (“an organization directed by Black & Brown Youth, who confront systemic inequality by building our collective power”) are in the fourth day of a sit-in outside Gov. Rick Scott’s office in the state capitol. The students are demanding that the governor to call a special session of the Legislature to change the 2005 self-defense law that includes the Stand Your Ground provision. Scott met the protesters Thursday but rejected their demands

The Dream Defenders outside Scott's capitol office Thursday. Click on the image for larger view. (Facebook)

The Dream Defenders outside Scott’s capitol office Thursday. Click on the image for larger view. (Facebook)

Scott told the students to speak to their respective lawmakers. “I also told them that I plan to call for a Statewide Day of Prayer for Unity in Florida this Sunday, July 21st,” Scott said in a news release. “We have a great state with wonderful, resilient people that rise to meet any challenge. While emotions run high, it is even more important that we join together to strengthen and support one another.”

Saturday’s march in Palm Coast will be echoed by similar marches and vigils elsewhere in the state and in the country. Ottley insisted that she alone had decided to organize the march locally, with no backing from any particular organization. “If it is in your heart and you do it peacefully, by the book, why do you have to have an organization to back you?”

She wants other concerned citizens to join her. Many might: word went out through word of mouth, Facebook, Twitter and churches that the march was on.

Flagler County NAACP President Linda Haywood, who goes to Ottley’s church, was among those contacted. Haywood will be joining the march.

“We’re not connected to the march but we’re going to march in support of them” Haywood said on WNZF this morning after returning from the national NAACP conference in Orlando.

It’s not black and white thing, Haywood said. “No it’s not. It’s showing solidarity in a common belief that there is a need for significant change,” Haywood said. The march, she said, is not a march for the black community. Last year, she said, millions of people of all races marched for the same purpose—to bring justice for Trayvon Martin. “There were white students across every college campus that participated in the marches. There were Asian students, there were Latino students, there were elderly people that marched in new York City and in Los Angeles and San Francisco and Boston. So there is a commonality. Everyone is seeking justice and equality and fairness in the justice system. That is what this is about.”

Just as there’s been a sustained movement to hold rallies and larches since the verdict, there’s been a sustained movement—on Twitter feeds, on Facebook, in the comment sections of websites like this one—to counter the marches with criticism. Some running themes: marches are more divisive than unifying, media are fueling the conflict, or the Zimmerman verdict had nothing to do with race.

John Winston, speaking on the matter on WNZF this morning alongside Haywood, rejected the criticism. “Somehow people have gotten the impression that if you march, that if you protest, that if you say anything, you’re somehow adding to the problem,” Winston said. “That’s not the case.” Marches build bridges of understanding, he said, and show people willing to work together to improve matters. “We have every right to hit the streets, to let the world know: something has happened that’s wrong, and we’re trying to make it right.”

Race, Haywood said, is “the white elephant in the room. You cannot act as though it does not exist. We are the only people, we’re the only group of people that have to sit our young children down and talk to them about how to survive while walking while black, while shopping while black, while driving while black, while trying to go to school while black, or trying to get a job while black. We have to be better, we have to be smarter, we have to be more proactive. So it exists.”

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23 Responses for “Trayvon Martin Solidarity March in Palm Coast Saturday as Protests Elsewhere Continue”

  1. confidential says:

    I apologize also for all those disrespecting our fellow African American citizens and minorities.

  2. Pastor Sims Jones says:

    If we as a city, county, state, or country are going to make, we must change our way of thinking, and our unjust laws.

  3. Truth of the matter says:

    I have an idea, let’s get rid of the jury system completely and replace it with street demonstrations to prove a persons innocence or guilt ?

    • Magnolia says:

      @ Truth of the Matter: They did that in Rome and look what happened.

    • Anita says:

      I have a better idea, let’s have national penalties, across the board for crimes committed, so that a black woman who shoots a ceiling doesn’t get 20 years, while a man who shoots an innocent child walks free.

  4. Accept it says:

    Justice was said to be a jury trial….you got it….accept it! Stop disrespecting the process and the jurors who made their decision. As adults, we don’t have tantrums when things don’t go our way. This is not the process to change laws.

  5. brian says:

    why do you people not believe in self defense..if a boy jumps you and is pounding your head on the cement, are you not going to die if you dont defend yourself? gotta tell ya, ya’ll sound like morons!!!

    • Anita says:

      Why are you so certain that Trayvon Martin was not defending himself against a stranger with a gun?

      • Joe says:

        white kids get killed every day we never hear about it. I don’t care for skin melon divides and conquered I care about the justice. Trayvon martin is a saint if we could learn this. if we weren’t divided this might have went anther way but alas we are conquered to repeat history. Cant be a saint unless we gain wisdom from this please don’t bastardise someone you love w/ confrontation be smart and be heard ignorance is a bliss but a double sided sword I do respect how hurt u must feel but use this powerful love to connect our broken community :(

  6. Msbcart says:

    Yada yada yada

  7. Profiler says:

    The “Stand Your Ground” law was never used in the case, only self defense.

  8. zimmerman was never guilty! says:

    cant accept the fact the thug was guilty,and is now dead at the hands of his victim?

    maybe walking around holding signs will help!

  9. Patti says:

    Although I understand and commiserate with the good intentions of people who are striving to unite in strength for this cause, I really must take issue with the fact that members of the African-American community seems to feel they are the only ones who have had to sit their children down and teach them how to be safe while walking the streets….. Fathers and Mothers have been teaching their daughters this same message for just as long.

    • Ayn Rand's Spleen says:

      I do understand that “driving while black” is a thing, and I do understand that frequently blacks given lower expectations than other races with regards to job performance, and I understand the cliche “cross the road there’s a black person on this side” thing. The question the black community needs to ask is why this is the case. Is it systematic racism because blacks are thought by the establishment to be inferior troublemakers, or is it a manifestation of the embraced norms of some of the black community, or is it a combination of the two?

      Not every event that happens between a black and a non-black that is detrimental to the black person occurs due to racism. This is something that the more vocal parts of the black community needs to realize. Trayvon was killed by a gun-wielding manchild that may or may not have profiled him because of his color. There’s little doubt that he was profiled because of his clothes and the fact that he was in an area that had seen numerous break-ins, and the profiler was on the receiving end of a home invasion. I would fully expect, as a white teenager, to be hassled by cops, both real and wanna-be, if I was wearing the same clothes and acting the same way.

      What I am curious about is where exactly the parents are in all of this, because parenting is where the black community can fix travesties like this. He’d been suspended from high school and he wasn’t under house arrest by his parents? Why did he throw a punch instead of just saying “I live that way, follow along if you want I’m going home”? Why is he hanging out with people like his girlfriend? That’s bad parenting, plain and simple.

  10. Sherry Epley says:

    I am very happy to see that a religious leader is commenting on these kinds of issues. It would be wonderful to receive more spiritual guidence in this kind of venue. Our hearts and souls are deeply involved and affected by such human tragedy. Yes, we certainly do need to change our way of thinking, and feeling, and teaching our children to love and care for every one of our fellow human beings, as our selves.

  11. miket says:

    how about everyone accept the verdict hes found not quilty.Remeber STAND YOUR GROUND!!!!!!!

  12. ira bowman says:

    I think this is a joke!! Justice was served Zimmerman was found NOT GUILTY by a jury if this would have been 2 black guys you would have never heard another word. Let George Zimmerman lead his life in peace….

  13. chaz says:


  14. Magnolia says:

    None of this is a joke. It never should have happened, but it did. I want my neighbors to know that I respect you and I care about you. Let’s all do that and be a better community.

    Blaming, hating isn’t going to solve anything. Do I think this was racism? No. Do I think we all need to be more in touch with our kids? Yes.

  15. A.S.F. says:

    Magnolia–You have not the REMOTEST idea of what kind of parents Trayvon’s parents were but you are ready to make the leap to decide they were poor parents because he (a) happened to walk to a convenience store by himself at seventeen years of age to buy skittles and an iced tea. Do you really believe that you are going to be able to control everything your kids do at that age and, thereby, lock them into some 1950’s time warp of safety because you can, and should, be able to control every element of everything that goes on in the outside world? Do you really believe, as a White parent, that you can compare the dangers and prejudices that your children face to the ones that minority children face? “Father Knows Best” went off the air a long time ago but, apparently, not in your home. I shudder to think what kinds of expectations you are fostering in your kids’ heads about the outside world–but I do commend you for being, obviously, a very caring and concerned parent. Perhaps all of us should be working together to make this world a more equal playing field for ALL children in this country. Instead, we all seem to be retreating to our separate corners and peering out from behind our curtains to ascertain who might be walking around or lying in wait out there to get us. You say “blaming” isnt going to solve anything. I agree–So why do think so many of the comments here seem to blame Trayvon’s parents? Don’t you think that would be hurtful, if you were in their place, grieving the death of your son, after seeing his killer get off scot-free? Yet, I have heard and seen Mr. Martin and Ms. Fulton display such grace, even through their understandable anger, disappointment and sorrow. On the other hand, we have Mr. Robert Zimmerman Sr. (GZ’s father) who has already written an e-book through Amazon (only $3.99, what a bargain), where-in he lists a long list of people and groups that HE thinks have persecuted his poor misunderstood victim of a son, including the United Negro College Fund and The American Basketball Players Association. And you think Black people are paranoid?? The apple didn’t fall far from THAT tree–Yet, not many people seem to be speaking out critically about the parenting skills of George Zimmerman’s parents…Only Trayvon Martin’s. Now, why do you think that is? Why, THAT wouldn’t have anything to do with racism or prejudging people, would it?

  16. Dan says:

    Zimmerman defended his life unfortunately he had to take the life of another human being. Race had nothing to do with this, if Trayvon were a white person and it was the same situation Zimmerman would have done the same thing and so would you if you felt your life was in danger.

  17. zimmerman was never guilty! says:

    so now where is the article about Zimmerman rescueing those people from the overturned vehicle-within days of his trial?

    media only printing what they wanna print of course

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