WASHINGTON – Kadija Ash joined hundreds of others Saturday at one of 100 vigils across the country for Trayvon Martin.
“This is the story of my life,” she said. “I have three sons.”
Ash,62,a D.C. resident who works for the city,said lived through the fear that became reality for Trayvon Martin’s mother. Her sons are now in their 40s.
“It didn’t for me,but it could have,” she said.
Faith leaders and others came together Saturday to pray for Trayvon Martin’s family and action a week after George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder in the Trayvon Martin Case.
Hundreds gathered Saturday outside the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse as part of the National Action Network’s vigils. National Action Network,founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton,called the vigils to encourage the federal government to investigate civil rights charges against Zimmerman.
Several people mentioned President Barack Obama’s speech Friday,when he said,“The African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.”
“When Trayvon Martin was first shot,I said that this could have been my son,” he said. “Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”
The president called for a review of “stand your ground laws,” like those in Florida.
At the vigil,the crowd broke into chants of “No justice,no peace” several times,and “Boycott Florida.” Several people held up skittles and iced tea during the protest,the items Martin was carrying when he was killed. Signs read “I am Trayvon Martin,” and some people wore hoodies despite temperatures in the 90s.
Some held signs wanting justice for Ali Mohammed,who died in Washington in 2010. He was in a fight with the owners of a bar who said he threw a rock through the window. The coroner determined that his death was a homicide,according to Homicide Watch,but there was insufficient evidence for criminal charges. The case has remained controversial.
Lennox Abrigo,president of the Washington chapter of the National Action Network,said he was not angry,but disappointed in the Florida verdict.
He said he respects the legal system in the United States and the jury’s right to make its decision.
“I disagree with every cell in my body with that verdict,” he said.
Abrigo,who is also the pastor at Seventh Day New Covenant Ministries in suburban Maryland,noted the president’s remarks from the day before.
“It was the first time in our country that we heard from the leader of the free world an entirely black perspective,” he said.
Joe Madison,a radio host,spoke about Martin as someone who had a right to be where he was,the same way other civil rights leaders had rights,including the Little Rock Nine,who desegregated the schools in the Arkansas city in 1957.
“The purpose of being here today is to make sure that the Trayvon Martin case is not a moment,it’s a movement,” Madison said.
Madison also noted Obama’s remarks.
“Yesterday,you actually heard the president of the United states say something that we’ve all chanted ever since this incident came to our attention,” Madison said. “I am Trayvon Martin.”
Janaye Ingram,D.C. bureau chief for National Action Network,spoke about the importance of voting in all elections,not just presidential ones.
“If we don’t want this to happen again,we have to make sure that stand your ground is repealed and that nothing else similar is introduced,” she said.
Reach Christine Scalora at [email protected] or 202-326-9865. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.