When black Florida teen Trayvon Martin was shot dead by apparently crazed neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman earlier this year, his parents — Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton — took on the sudden responsibility, like it or not, of becoming justice fighters against the greater evil of racism in America. Their every reaction became a headline, their grief a symbol of national hurt.
But you couldn't have picked a more graceful pair. Here they are on Capitol Hill, just weeks after the senseless shooting:
Now, exactly two months after losing their son — and just in time for the 20-year anniversary of the L.A. Riots — Martin's mom and dad will gift Los Angeles with their symbolic presence at a giant rally this evening at West Angeles Church.
NAACP's Hollywood Bureau is behind the event. So it's no surprise that the L.A. rally has turned into a star-studded who's-who of black talent and leadership:
Special guests include: The Martin Family, Attorneys from Parks & Crump, Benjamin Todd Jealous (NAACP, president/ceo), Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Bishop Charles E. Blake Celebrity guests include: Stevie Wonder, Mary Mary, Earvin Magic Johnson, Chaka Kahn David Banner, Paul Rodriguez and Big Boy.
(That's Big Boy the R&B radio host, not Big Boi the Outkast rapper, FYI.)
Perhaps because of this city's own history of racial injustice, L.A. activists have been especially vocal about the death of Trayvon Martin. Our rallies have been some of the largest in the country, and Al Sharpton has already made the rounds to a few other South L.A. churches.
On that note, let us not forget that one of our own — black Pasadena teen Kendrec McDade — was killed just days after Trayvon, in a highly questionable officer-involved shooting that stemmed from a false accusation that McDade was armed in a hoodie. We're thinking some of his supporters might show up tonight, as well.
According to the NAACP, tonight's rally, which lasts from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., will…
… advocate for crime victims and their families of senseless crimes; educate young people on conflict resolution techniques; increase public awareness against all forms of profiling; and enact the Trayvon Martin legislation to prevent the inappropriate application of the stand your ground principles.
And, one would hope, enact a certain Mr. Wonder to tinkling the ivory.