Pastors on program; hundreds of residents show their support
BY JAMES HARPER
Hundreds of Daytona Beach residents participated in the Sanford rally on March 22 to help apply pressure on law enforcement to arrest George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin.
Dr. L. Ronald Durham, pastor of Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, helped to organize the rally at Lake Fort Mellon Park in Sanford after being contacted by the Rev. Al Sharpton. The park is less than three miles from the site of where 17-year-old Martin was shot walking to his father’s girlfriend’s apartment.
The Rev. John Long of Tubman-King Community Church in Daytona, presided over the rally and introduced many of the speakers.
“We did not come here to party. Those of us in front of you did not come here to entertain you. We did not come to incite you to violence, but we have come to call for an account for the life of another young Black male, caught up in a situation known as walking while Black,” Long said.
“Too long Black life has been undervalued. Too many of our children have died needlessly. Too often we sit back in silence and it happens over and over and over again,” he added.
Local pastors among protestors
The Rev. Victor Gooden of New Life Ministries in Holly Hill was among the protesters.
“Justice has not been served. Anywhere in this country where justice isn’t served, we need to protest in mass numbers,” Gooden stated.
The Rev. Larry Edwards of St. John Baptist Church in Ormond also was in the crowd.
“I’m here to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and stand for those who cannot stand for themselves,” he remarked.
‘My kid, my grandson’
Sandy Goldcross, a White Daytona Beach resident, said she went to the rally because she could relate to the situation.
“Trayvon is my kid, my grandson. That is how we must look at this. Wouldn’t we want justice if the victim had been one of our own? Wouldn’t we want others to support our call for justice? We must keep on with our support,” Goldcross added.
Ormond Beach resident Andrea Hall said she was at the rally because she also felt Trayvon could have been her son.
“Even though I am not a biological mother, I feel as if Trayvon really could have been my son, as I view so many other Black children. It’s as if I can feel the pain of his mother within my own spirit. I want so much for our Black youth, and I know that there are so many life lessons that they must learn. Most of all, he was murdered for no reason. I had to be there to support the family and to support the Black race and our nation at large,” Hall explained.
Brown: ‘I want an arrest’
Congresswoman Corrine Brown, whose District 3 includes part of Volusia County, ignited the crowd with a fiery speech.
“What has happened here is not acceptable nowhere in Florida, nowhere in the country, nowhere in the world. This has to be a teachable moment for us because there is no good ending,” Brown said.
“I only want one thing. It’s real simple. I want an arrest. I want an arrest. That is all I want. I don’t think the system has been fair. We can’t change the outcome, but we can make sure the system is fair and that we are treated fairly. We must start with an arrest. I want a trial. You are doing your part to make a difference and I will do mine,” she said to thunderous applause.