The Possibility of Change

Rally participants call for justice, mourn Trayvon Martin's death.

They didn’t catch up on Dancing with the Stars.

They didn’t go to the three-day week-end sale at the mall.

They didn’t just click on a petition and call it good.

They showed up. At a rally.

Not just the socialists, with their newspapers. Not just the anarchists or the advocacy groups with their t-shirts and logos and banners. Many, many Seattleites showed up last Sunday to protest the miscarriage of justice surrounding the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

A few minutes into the march from Mt. Baker Baptist Church to the rally at MLK Memorial Park, I overheard a man urge his friend to turn around and look. I turned around, and as far as I could see were people marching in a show of solidarity with Trayvon Martin’s family: senior citizens, teens, mothers pushing babies in strollers, fathers with toddlers perched on their shoulders, friends, couples, and people who came alone.

They were at the rally to show solidarity, grieve, and express outrage over the pervasive and persistent circumstances of a senseless death. Martin’s cousin thanked all present. People talked about Jim Crow. The prison industrial complex. What it’s like to be a young African-American male. Or his mother. The importance of teaching kids that they matter. Teaching high school students about the struggle for civil rights. The importance of continuing that struggle.

That an African-American teenager on a walk can be followed for no apparent reason and killed… that a credible investigation is not begun until a month after the incident…these are enough to make you want to give up on things like civil rights and justice. But then thousands of people all over the country rally to support Trayvon’s family and demand answers. And though we have not yet attained change we can believe in, by speaking out, we make it possible to believe in the possibility of change.