February 24, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Youth Take Part In Trayvon Martin Rally: Youth take to the streets and City Hall for Trayvon Martin

About a dozen students circled in front of Santa Monica City Hall on Wednesday afternoon in protest of the fatal shooting of black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida last month that has captured the attention of the nation.

Protest organizer Gary Avrech said the students were hoping to show their discontent toward the “Stand Your Ground Law” in Florida that let Martin’s killer walk free.

Martin, 17, was shot and killed in an Orlando suburb by 28-year-old self appointed Neighborhood Watch Captain George Zimmerman on Feb. 26. The police department in Sanford, Florida, has come under fire for their actions in concerned communities around the nation including Santa Monica.

According to Avrech, the Stand Your Ground law that was passed in Florida in 2005 came about as a reaction to open gun laws where people felt that they should be able to not only walk around with their guns displayed, but should be given the opportunity to use them in cases of self defense.

Currently, the Stand Your Ground law in Florida states that a person is allowed to use deadly force in self-defense if they believe themselves to be threatened.

Avrech said the rally was the first act in community activism for many of the students.

The rally started at the Pico Youth & Family Center just after 4 p.m. with students holding posters and signs. They then proceeded down Pico Blvd. and onto Main Street to finish at City Hall, where they remained until 7 p.m.

“We wanted to get students involved with this because it is Cesar Chavez week and we are celebrating Cesar Chavez’s philosophy of giving a voice to the voiceless,” said Selina Rodriguez, Program Director for the Pico Youth & Family Center on Pico Blvd.

According to reports, Zimmerman claimed that he shot Martin because he was “acting suspiciously” while walking around the Florida neighborhood in a hoodie, and used the Stand Your Ground law in Florida to defend his actions.

In support of Martin, Rodriguez encouraged students at Santa Monica High School to distribute packets of the candy Skittles to other students in memory of Martin who apparently had bought a pack of Skittles before his untimely death at the hands of Zimmerman.

The candy is now being used as a symbol of injustice at youth protests around the nation.

Currently 10 other states have Stand Your Ground laws similar to Florida, but even though California is not one of them, Avrech believed the community of Santa Monica should get involved in the hotly debated national issue.

“It’s important that people here in Santa Monica get involved and talk about their feelings about this issue,” said Avrech, who is part of a number of organizations in the Santa Monica Community including the Martin Luther King Westside Coalition, the Santa Monica Bay Area Human Relations Council, and on the Community Resource Festival Committee. “We are trying to keep the focus on this issue until Florida and other states that have Stand Your Ground laws change so people can’t kill other people just because they feel threatened.”

Avrech is no novice to protesting against laws that do not protect civil rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” He was part of the protests in Westwood as a teen during Vietnam War era of the 1970s.

Throughout his life, Avrech has had an interest in “giving a voice to those who are under represented.” He said it was now his chance to use his influence in the Santa Monica community to make others aware when a law needs to be changed.

He said he encouraged people to “peacefully protest” until their leaders act to change those laws.

“Students are the ones at risk because of what they look like and because of what they wear,” said Avrech. “They could be targeted, like what happened to Trayvon in Florida. There needs to be clear guidelines as to what Neighborhood Watch people can do, and if they are not allowed to do something and they follow that person (and kill them), they should at least be held, detained, and questioned.

Avrech said he disagreed wholeheartedly with the Stand Your Ground law that he believes “is so ambiguous and confusing that it tends to protect the killers and not the citizens.”

“Students need to feel safe in their community and on their campus,” Avrech said. “They shouldn’t be targeted for what they look like and what they are wearing. If someone is to be detained or arrested, it should be for committing crimes. In Florida that’s no longer the standard anymore. All you have to do is look threatening to someone and you can be killed and the police will let the perpetrator walk.”

Why the authorities in Sanford, Florida, allowed Zimmerman to walk is currently the question of the hour.

According to Avrech, this law “creates confusion for the police on how to proceed and unfortunately this can lead to people being killed.”

in News
Related Posts

(Video) Baltaire’s DJ Brunch is Ready to Make Your Weekend Fabulous

February 23, 2024

February 23, 2024

Baltaire is America’s Favorite Neighborhood Steakhouse. A Contemporary Restaurant in Brentwood With Classic Genes, Baltaire Is Where to Enjoy Brunch...

During Lean Times for the City, Certain Staff Members Slated to Get Hefty Raises

February 23, 2024

February 23, 2024

Proposed Equity Adjustments Raise Questions Amid Budgetary Concerns The next Santa Monica City Council Meeting will be held on Tuesday,...

Blue Bus Seeks Input on How to Improve Service

February 22, 2024

February 22, 2024

Through Brighter Blue, Big Blue Bus Aims to Develop a Strategic Plan for Implementing System Enhancements Over Five Years Santa...

Amid Delays, House of Pies Sets New Opening Date for Venice Spot

February 22, 2024

February 22, 2024

For About a Year, the Development’s Construction Has Seemingly Been Inactive By Zach Armstrong House of Pies, a popular L.A....

(Video) Russian River’s Pliny the Younger 2024 at Father’s Office in Culver City

February 22, 2024

February 22, 2024

Russian River’s Pliny the Younger 2024  at Father’s Office in Culver City. The ticket got you two pours of the...

Culinary Bliss Awaits: Los Angeles Wine & Food Festival Debuts in Santa Monica

February 21, 2024

February 21, 2024

Santa Monica Pier Welcomes the Inaugural Los Angeles Wine & Food Festival Santa Monica is set to become the birthplace...

Indulge Your Cookie Cravings and Support Local Scouts: Girl Scout Cookie® Sales Now Open

February 21, 2024

February 21, 2024

Multiple Ways to Purchase Iconic Cookies and Make a Difference You can satisfy your Girl Scout Cookie® cravings this season...

Popular Coffee & Tea Franchise Opens Another Santa Monica Spot

February 21, 2024

February 21, 2024

The News Comes Four Months After the Announcement of Its Third Santa Monica Outpost By Zach Armstrong Coffee Bean &...

Bruce Lurie Gallery Unveils “Give Us Our Flowers” Exhibition

February 21, 2024

February 21, 2024

Philoche’s painting style incorporates vintage subjects to convey a tribute to the resilience of human spirit.  Bruce Lurie Gallery presents...

Portraiture Masterclass with Renowned Photographer Coming to Venice Beach

February 21, 2024

February 21, 2024

Participants will explore the boardwalk alongside Alan, honing their creativity and engaging with the local community. Renowned photographer Alan Shapiro...

“Women in Jazz” Event at the Moss Theater to Benefit College Scholarship Program

February 20, 2024

February 20, 2024

The Scholarship Trains Students to be Ambassadors for Antiracist Learning and Teaching Los Angeles-based jazz vocalist Amber Weekes, an alumna...

Countdown to the 30th Annual SAG Awards: Celebrating Excellence in Film and TV

February 20, 2024

February 20, 2024

SAG Awards Ceremony Set for Feb. 24, 2024, to be Globally Streamed on Netflix The anticipation for the 30th Annual...

“20’s/20s” Exhibit at ARCANE to Showcase Emerging Artists’ Work

February 20, 2024

February 20, 2024

The Featured Artists Were All in Their Twenties During the 2020s ARCANE Space is set to host an exhibition showcasing...

(Video) If Not Now Los Angeles Protest at Vice President Kamala Harris’ Home in Brentwood

February 20, 2024

February 20, 2024

The group held a Shiva or Jewish mourning ceremony as a protest. @smmirrornews If Not Now Los Angeles Protest at...

Atmospheric River Update for Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and Malibu for February 19

February 19, 2024

February 19, 2024

Road Closures, Mudslides, and Heaviest Rainfall of This Storm Still on the Way The City of Los Angeles intensified its...