A woman in a gray hoodie held a simple cardboard sign at Monday night’s candlelight vigil in Love Park: “Trayvon Martin could have been my son, my grandson, my great grandson.”
Just a few steps away, a group of mothers said in many ways, he was.
The women, all members of the anti-violence group, Mothers in Charge, told stories of violently and senselessly losing loved ones.
One son, shot seven times. One favorite grandson, shot in the head just days before his birthday.
“Easter Sunday will be three years for me,” Terrez McCleary said of her daughter, who was killed by a man she barely knew and who is now serving just a handful of years for taking her life.
Of the group of eight I spoke to, only two said they’d gotten justice. Darnetta Green, whose son Dwayne was killed nearly five years ago to the day, said no one has been arrested for killing him just a block from his West Philadelphia home.
“The streets aren’t talking,” she said.
The women were there to support a mother who they don’t know, but whose pain they know all too well, they said.
But they were also there to remind the hundreds of people gathered at the park tonight that there are other Trayvon’s out there, just blocks away, in neighborhoods where too often no one gathers to mark their passing.
And as much as they felt for the mother of the unarmed Florida teen gunned down last month, they couldn’t help but wish the deaths of their children attracted the same kind of attention, and outrage.
Daily News columnist Jenice Armstrong wrote a good piece about that today.
It’s a question many are asking in cities across the country.
Stephanie Mobley, whose only son was killed in 2007, said there was a simple explanation for why so many people cared about one black young man’s death when so many go unnoted: The cameras, she said. “The press cares, so people care.”
The other women didn’t completely disagree, but they said they hoped the anger over 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s case would move people in communities plagued by violence to stand up against senseless killings – no matter who the victim.
The loss of any child is a tragedy, the women said. But “the lasting message has to be that our kids matter too,” said Donna Giddings.
Mothers in Charge will hold another rally at Love Park Thursday at 6:30 p.m.