Minneapolis, MN - On March 29, the Million Hoodies event began here in early evening. Over 5500 people crowded the Northrop Plaza at the University of Minnesota, from all over the Twin Cities area. Excitement escalated as organizers began with chants such as, “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” There were speakers from all over the Twin Cities -students, professors and community members alike. For over an hour, they spoke about the significance of the murder of Trayvon Martin.
Leading up to the protest, in just one night, over 1000 people RSVPed as “attending” to a call for a march on a Facebook event started by Jenny Belsito. In just over a week, this number jumped to over 5000. The event went viral and the Minneapolis “Million Hoodies for Trayvon Martin” march and rally was planned. The event page became a place of solidarity, with links to petitions and “I am Trayvon” photos posted hourly. Even before the March 29 rally, the Twin Cities community was uniting against racial injustice and for the prosecution of George Zimmerman.
University of Minnesota student and event organizer Jenny Belsito declares that the event was about more than just wearing hoodies for one day. It was about the passion of the people for “fixing our criminal justice system, justice for Trayvon and ending racial discrimination and profiling…we need to stick together and keep the unity and fight until our demands are met!”
Gray clouds and rumors of rain did not deter the protesters from beginning the permitted march around the University’s mall area. For over 20 minutes, the thousands marched wearing their hoods chanting and demanding justice be brought not only to Trayvon, but to everyone suffering from racial injustice.
Later the rally-goers split up, with some staying to hear the last speakers and thousands of others taking to the streets in a non-permitted march. The march spanned two city blocks and stopped traffic down 4th Street and University Avenue. Police followed on foot and by car, but did not intervene. The marchers were animated as they chanted, “We are Trayvon Martin,” and “Being Black is not a crime!” as they rallied pedestrians and residents of the area to join the march.
The crowd returned to the Northrop Plaza to hear a concert by Sounds of Blackness.
Protests, rallies and marches are planned all over the nation in the upcoming weeks in honor of Trayvon Martin. Support continues to grow and will not cease until justice becomes a reality.