COMMUNITY VOICES | #HoodiesUpMN rally inspires hope for our communities


On Sunday, a group of community organizers and citizens met at Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) after the jury had read the not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial.

We had three main goals to discuss at the meeting: (1) What was the message we wanted to send out, (2) Who did we want to target with this message, and (3) What was the narrative going to be. During the meeting every one of us could feel the emotion in the room – people’s hurt, frustration, anger, sadness—and hope. 

As a recent resident to Minneapolis this was such a beautiful sight to me. Many ideas were shared and discussed as we began to create a long-term, and sustainable, plan for justice – not just for Trayvon Martin, but for everyone that is and has been affected by the racism that is entrenched within our society.

Last week I came across a report by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement entitled Operation Ghetto Storm.  This report was created with the goal of understanding the disregard of Black life in America, a disregard which has been vividly called to many of our minds by Trayvon Martin’s and Terrance Franklin’s deaths. 

It breaks down how our government and our society tolerates—and even supports—the extrajudicial execution of Black people: “In 2012, 313 Black people were executed without trial by police, security guards and self-appointed law enforcers.” Every 28 hours a father, mother, daughter, son, sister, brother is murdered. For me, the most startling statistic was that 66% were people aged 2 to 31. The report also states that in the Twin Cities four Black people were executed last year, and that the metro is one of the areas where Black people are executed “without trial in numbers vastly disproportionate to the size of their Black populations.”

There has been a long-standing precedent in the US that devalues and dehumanizes Black life. My heart hurts for the loss of my fallen brothers and sisters and the pain of their families as they try to heal a forever-gaping wound. But Monday night, at the #HoodiesUpMN rally, I felt hope standing and marching with hundreds of people demanding justice – for Trayvon, for Terrance, and for those of us who face racial profiling, police brutality mass incarceration, and a criminal injustice system. 

There is something in the air right now, a restlessness that has been brought forth by the story of Trayvon Martin. And this restlessness will not end until we truly do have justice for all.


Related stories:

Talking about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman (Mary Turck, 2013)

BEHIND THE STORY | Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman: When will the cycle of racism stop? (Sheila Regan, 2013)

OPINION | Sidestepping race in Zimmerman’s trial only puts a bandaid on America’s racial wound(Lolla Mohammed Nur, 2013)

COMMUNITY VOICES | Zimmerman acquittal demonstrates that we can’t keep silent