Yesterday communities all over the U.S. organized to profess their disapproval of the verdict in the Trayvon Martin murder trial. Late Saturday night George Zimmerman, a man who shot and murdered an unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida, was acquitted of all charges, revoking any observable justice for the family of the dead teenager. In reaction to this, NYC protesters from the Bronx to Harlem to Union Square to Brooklyn took to the streets to show their disdain for the judicial system, a system that allowed a man to follow and kill a young boy armed with nothing but skittles, iced tea and his dark skin.
A public display of human sorrow for Trayvon culminated in a 3-hour silent protest at Union Square with people holding hands in a circle. After the silence, thousands marched in the streets chanting, “No Justice, No Peace” and sometimes adding “Fuck the Police.”
A sea of protest art including a life-size image of Trayvon attached to wood accompanied the infuriated rainbow of mostly young people.
In addition to the impromptu posters, signs and performances throughout yesterday’s protests, professional artists and collectives have articulated their passions through art as well. Dignidad Rebelde, artist duo Melanie Cervantesand Jesus Barraza based out of Oakland, CA, collaborated with Just Seedsartist Santiago Mazatl to create the green and sepia print of a smiling Trayvon. “I am Trayvon and My Life Matters,” the piece reads.
Street art and graffiti artists have joined the fight for Trayvon as well. Wheatpastes and spray-painted figures donning hoodies and skittles have become a symbol for the unnecessary crimes and institutional injustice against people of color. Needless to say, the rage is palpable and that rage has activated artistic expression across the U.S. And it will only heighten in the coming days. I mean, if this isn’t political artistic expression, I don’t know what is.