November 25, 2014


Trayvon Martin: In Lorain, a peaceful, somber end to rally

LORAIN — Nearly 100 people turned out in Veterans Memorial Park on an overcast Saturday afternoon to voice their concern over the acquittal of George Zimmerman on murder and other charges in the February 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida.

Imam Paul Hasan said that before the rally he and other organizers were being told that the event would turn into a riot of angry black teenagers. The reality was quite different with the multiracial crowd gathering at the end to form a prayer circle.

“People believed it was not going to be peaceful,” Marcus Atkinson, another organizer, said after the event. “They misunderstood.”

The rally was held the same day as numerous other events across the nation to protest Zimmerman’s acquittal. His legal team argued during the closely watched trial that the block watch member had been defending himself after Martin attacked him.

Critics of Zimmerman have argued that he followed Martin because he thought the black youth was out of place in the gated community and created the confrontation that led to Martin’s death. Martin was famously carrying a bag of Skittles, which many in the crowd also carried Saturday.

Many of the speakers urged the crowd, which included one white man wearing a gray hoodie and a sign that read “I am suspicious,” to try to work toward racial equality in the criminal justice system.

“We have a system that is broken, a system that has been broken, but it’s a system that can be fixed,” Bishop Dennis Johnson of Fairfield Christian Center said.

Ricky Johnson said he has numerous relatives who could easily have been Martin, a theme many black leaders, including President Barack Obama, have used when discussing the case.

The key to fixing the problem, Ricky Johnson said, is for society to come together to address the challenges in the country.

“Instead of saying it takes a village, we have to become the village,” he said.

Angel Arroyo urged the crowd to act locally to help rein in violence in Lorain County. He also told them to call Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer and ask him to put pressure on the Lorain Police Department to solve a number of unsolved homicides in the city.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or

  • Larry Crnobrnja

    “…and a sign that read “I am suspicious.”

    I believe it read “AM I SUSPICOUS?”. (notice the misspelling)

    • Lorain365

      Hey now, how about a little credit for that one, Mr. Crnobrnja?

    • Ray Venn

      Am I suspicious?

      If you are walking through a gated community, where I’m a neighborhood watch coordinator(meaning I have been in the neighborhood a while) I don’t recognize you, it’s dark and YOU act suspiciously by RUNNING like Martin did when you saw me, then yes you too would be suspicious.

      • shadow

        So you chase that person down and ultimately kill them? Seriously?

  • Daniel Sutter

    Once you are on the ground getting the life beat of you??

  • Michelle

    Why is it that when a black person is a victim there is a big parade with Al “I portray racism”Sharpton but when a black person commits a crime it’s ok? I’m tired of hearing about this. Whats done is done. Move the f@$& on.

    • shadow

      Murder is never okay—black or white. This case got so much attention because the kid was young, totally innocent…just walking home from a candy store like so many of our children do……. and the triggerman pulled the “stand my ground” stance to get out of life in prison. Imagine the panic Zimmerman felt when he realized the kid had Skittles and a soda pop and no gun, no weapon, and he lived in the neighborhood. Yikes!!! He had to pull the “stand your ground” claim out of his bag o’ tricks. His dad is a retired federal judge so I’m sure the dad instructed his son as to what to say. AND we all know how it works….dad was probably on the phone to everyone who could help sonny boy…spreading the cash around. We know he wrote a book while sonny boy was waiting for trial claiming his son was innocent and that evil kid attacked his sonny boy. Never mind Trevon WAS literally stalked by this wanna be nut case Zimmerman.

      Look, you’re right it’s over. Zimmerman should get his gun back and Casey Anthony (both from lovely Florida) should get a new baby.

      THAT’S justice.

  • Bob Sweatt

    To all who thinks the legal system is unfair or racist. Please look up the Scott-Cervini case. You will be surprised at what you will see.

    The only different between the Martin-Zimmerman and the Scott-Cervini cases is race.

    It happens both ways. So get over it.