Justice Rallies for Trayvon Martin Continue Around U.S.

Organized rallies arose all around the USA this past week and weekend, protesting the verdict after a jury of six women found George Zimmerman not guilty in the death of Trayvon Martin last Saturday, July 13, 2013.

After the verdict was read last Saturday, protestors continued to rally outside the courthouse where the trial was held in Sanford, FL.

The crowd chanted, “Shame, shame, shame, shame…” after hearing the verdict and seeing Zimmerman walk out of the courthouse, across the hallway.

It was reported that over 100 cities across America held rallies and protests in the wake of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin who was slain by Zimmerman back in February 2012.

Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, Orlando, Miami, New York City, Brooklyn, San Diego, Oakland, Los Angeles—these were only a few of the named cities that participated in these rallies supporting Trayvon Martin and his family.

This past Wednesday on July 17, a peace rally was held in Orlando, FL. Protestors marched from Lake Eola in downtown Orlando to the Orange County courthouse. Organizers of the rally spoke to the crowd through a megaphone on the courthouse steps. They encouraged everyone to stay peaceful and that there will be justice to come for Trayvon Martin.

Shayan Modarres, one of the organizers of the Orlando rally, said that he thought it was a great turn out. “Everyone was peaceful, we demonstrated peacefully. In two days to have this many people come out and support the movement, I think that’s amazing. And this is only the beginning, we’re going to keep the momentum going and we’ll do more and more.”

“We just want people to know we’re not going to relent, we’re not going to quit, we’re not going to give up. We’re going to keep the momentum going and we are not going to move on,” Modaress continued to say.

Celebrity singer and DJ Solange Knowles organized a peaceful rally in downtown Brooklyn at Borough Hall on July 14. The singer tweeted, “seeing & gathering with people today/tonight all for the same fight helped to restore my faith in humanity…”

Superstar couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z attended a rally in New York City with thousands of other people on Saturday morning, July 20. Rev. Al Sharpton, community activist, commented on speaking to the star-couple before the rally. Sharpton said, “Jay Z and Beyoncé said they didn’t want to speak and they didn’t come for a photo op.”

Sharpton continued, “Jay Z told me, ‘I’m a father. Beyoncé is a mother.’ We all feel the pain and apprehension – the laws must protect everybody, or it doesn’t protect anybody. We do not come from hate, we come from love of children.”

Justin Jones was one of the rally organizers in Oakland, CA. Jones just recently graduated from Hercule High School and is 17-years-old—the same age that Martin was when he died.  Jones said he did it to encourage and reach out to other young people in the East Bay area.







Ackerman Takes the Win at January Enzian FilmSlam

Last Sunday, January 13, 2013, writer and director Jen Ackerman, won first place in the Enzian FilmSlam, by the vote of the audience being the best out of eight other submissions. A display of justice, Insights to Strengths, was about coming out to world from the perspective of the gay/lesbian story. This short film by Ackerman was a definition of freedom, about being you no matter what.

Enzian FilmSlam

Valerie Burgos, a local student at Full Sail University, was in attendance at the FilmSlam. I asked her about her reaction to the first place winning short film. “Being different is okay,” she said. “It’s not how it was back then.” Burgos went on to talk about how she could relate to this film from her own life. She came out to her mother about being in a relationship with a woman a little more than a year ago. “It made me feel happy because when I came out to my mom it was rough. And its people out there that had it rough too,” she stated.

The crowd was alive with fervor and excitement with about 50 people in attendance. Mostly, there were the families of the directors in the audience. There were eight films submitted to the FilmSlam festival in total.  The voting was done on an audience-based system, with five stars being the best and one star being the worst. Coming in second place was Crushed, bywriter and director Paolo Ariza. Third place was Coopetal, by director Alica Haberman. The show lasted about an hour long, with a cheap entry fee of only five dollars, also including a Q&A session at the competition’s end. The Enzian has been hosting the FilmSlam for six years, after it moved from the UCF’s Downtown Media Arts Center, which closed in 2006. FilmSlam winners with submissions that are ten minutes or less in length are guaranteed a spot in the 2013 Brouhaha Film & Video Showcase.