Local residents rallied at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Monday, April 2 in support of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year old shot to death in Sanford, Florida on February 26. Community leaders Reverend Nelson and Dwayne Powell organized the gathering in remembrance of Trayvon and used the occasion to unite the African American community together.
“With this tragic situation, justice has not been served,” commented community leader Dwayne Powell. “It is important to be a voice in Delaware and to let the nation know that this is not just. We need to better our community so this does not happen here.”
Mr. Powell has been instrumental in organizing rallies that were held in Dover on March 18 and continues to help gain support for a rally for Trayvon in Georgetown on April 7.
Pastor Dukes opened the evening with prayer as a crowd gathered at the Bethel AME Church. Reverend Nelson welcomed everyone including local dignitaries State Senator Colin Bonini and Vice Mayor Katrina Wilson.
“The reality of it is that Milford has its share of racial tensions,” stated Reverend Nelson. “It is important that we lift this up so that no one thinks it is appropriate. We are sending a message that we do not want to see it repeated here.”
Local individuals shared songs, poems and written verse about Trayvon Martin’s death with the assembled crowd. Donald Walker, resident of Harrington and educator in Hockessin, Delaware, shared his thoughts on the tragedy.
“Don’t use this for a chance for retaliation,” commented Mr. Walker. “Use this as a way to beat them with your mind. We have to come together as a community and not let things like this go unnoticed.”
Jonathan Cooper, a graduate of Milford High School and now member of a group known as Philly 4 Trayvon, spoke to the audience and commented on its importance.
“What happened in FL can easily happen here,” stated Mr. Cooper. “I still have family here and it could happen to them.”
As the evening began to draw to a close, Vice Mayor Katrina Wilson took the podium and urged members of the black community to get involved.
“My children have been a victim of WWB, Walking While Black, and it angers you but we have to communicate and stand in a positive way,” stated Ms. Wilson. “Let’s not just rally for Trayvon but rally for the people, let’s stand together.”
As a tribute to Trayvon’s memory, a local youth lit a candle as members of the crowd joined hands and sang ‘We Shall Overcome.”