Milwaukee, WI - A day after the stunning “not guilty” verdict was read in the George Zimmerman murder trial of Trayvon Martin, a diverse group of concerned citizens of Milwaukee came out en masse to peacefully express their outrage over the all-white jury’s decision to not convict.
Beginning at six o’clock in the evening, about 200 people gathered at the Martin Luther King Jr. statue on MLK drive, where a few people spoke before the group took to the street and marched through downtown Milwaukee commandeering major city intersections to conduct large speak-outs that brought people out of businesses, cars, and residencies to join or observe. At each occupied intersection, the demonstrators held hands encircling all four crosswalks with speakers centered in the middle.
Later in the night, the Overpass Light Brigade (OLB) also took to the streets (actually the bridges) to shine their commentary over the jury’s unjust decision. About 40 “Holders of the Lights” arrived at the Ring Street Pedestrian Bridge to hold our lighted message over I-43 traffic. A steady stream of horn honking and thumbs up were elicited by the group’s message. Numerous people from the community visited the bridge, took pictures, hung out and held lighted letters. People came together on the overpass. The message seemed fitting for the city, which, on this day, lived out the true meaning of the message. Trayvon Martin may no longer be with us, but he will continue to live on through the collective action of all those who fight to fix the system that took his life and allowed his killer to go free.
Meanwhile, the Light Brigade Network, now comprising 28 chapters, formed quick collaborations to coordinate messages throughout the country:
The Fresno Light Brigade reminded passing motorists to seek justice:
Overpass Light Brigade - Massachusetts reminded us that there was no justice, and that behind the scenes, ALEC is to blame for the "Stand Your Ground" laws passed throughout Republican controlled legislatures:
In Hawaii, the activists of Occupy Hilo Light Brigade reminded us to keep our "hoodies up" in solidarity with all the young men who are judged, blamed (and in this case, killed) due to superficial external appreances:
And NYC-Light Brigade's Time Square open-crowd holding of the simple word "T-R-A-Y-V-O-N" went viral throughout social media:
Our own Overpass Light Brigade message in Milwaukee last night, "Trayvon Lives On" suggests that Trayvon's short life will not be in vain, as the obviousness of our broken system confronts us with the deepest urgency for change:
To end this sad tale I will post this hopeful message for bleak times. We Shall Overcome connects Trayvon's death, and the irreconcilable response of our broken legal system's verdict, to the ongoing struggle for pursuit of happiness. In this case, that simple pursuit was concrete and literal. It took the form of a walk through the unbeknownst hostile territory where fear and hate lurked behind suburban paranoia. Stand your ground. Skittles and a fruit drink. A dead boy, and a travesty of justice. We shall overcome. Some day.
Diary created in collaboration with the Milwaukee activist group Occupy Riverwest.