Rally gathers support, donations for slain teens
Published: Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 23:05
“I am Trayvon Martin” was the overall theme of the rally that took place on April 26 at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles honoring the slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin and Citrus College student Kendrec McDade, who was killed by Pasadena police after a 911 call falsely stating that McDade was armed in March.
The rally was hosted by radio personality Power 106 Big Boy, with preachings from Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and other religious, community and civil rights leaders, as well as the Martin and McDade families.
“What kind of country are we if we can put a black man in the White House but can’t let a black teenager walk through a neighborhood in South Florida?” Sharpton said.
Sharpton collected donations from the congregation, raising thousands of dollars for the Justice for Trayvon Martin Foundation, including a $500 donation from Sharpton himself.
Other speakers cited the numerous cases of wrongful death like Oscar Grant, who was fatally shot by BART police in Oakland in 2009 and James Craig Anderson, who was run over by two white teens in a pickup truck in Jackson, Mississippi last year.
Kenneth McDade, Kendrec McDade’s father, offered foreboding words to the city of Pasadena.
“Pasadena, you have nowhere to hide. We are coming for you,” McDade said.
“A few weeks ago, I was scared of police, too,” McDade said. “But they took something from me that made me want to stand up and give them a piece of my mind.”
The McDade family was accompanied by their attorney Caree Harper who said that they are “fresh out of patience.”
“As medieval as they got with Kendrec McDade on March 24, that’s how medieval my office is gonna get with them,” Harper said.
The McDade family has filed a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit against the city of Pasadena.
Comedian Paul Rodriguez, who said he was heart broken when he found out that the shooter of Martin was Hispanic, called for a joining of the Hispanic and black communities.
“I’ve been Hispanic for a long time, and I’ve never met a Zimmerman,” Rodriguez said.
Many of those who spoke at the rally called for a repeal of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, that states that a person may use force in self defense when there is a reasonable belief of threat.
Pastor Jamal Bryant urged the congregation to not only make this a moment, but rather a movement.
“They thought we were gonna be done with this in March, but we are still black in April,” Bryant said.
Math professor David Casey was not in attendance of the rally, however, did have McDade as a student last Fall in his Math 130 class.
He said that McDade was quiet but looked like a devoted football player.
“I have really mixed feelings because he just didn’t deserve to die. But on the other hand, I feel for the cops because I think if they had not been misled I don’t know whether they would have done this. It’s a hard case,” Casey said.
George Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the Feb. 26 shooting of the Florida teen and is currently awaiting trial.
The 17-year-old who was allegedly with McDade, has admitted to a role in the March 24 burglary of a laptop from a parked car that led to the Pasadena police shooting.
He has been sentenced to six months in a juvenile camp.