Our Response to Trayvon Martin’s Killing, Organizing for Civil and Human Rights

The date has passed for our National Virtual Town Hall to discuss our long-term Trayvon Martin response, post Zimmerman verdict. It was a very powerful Town Hall event, with nearly 1,800 people from around the country participating via phone. Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, Uncle Bobby, uncle of Oscar Grant, and a number of phenomenal and diverse Hip Hop generation leaders spoke during the Town Hall. Please check out the recap of the Town Hall, including audio of the full Town Hall, and audio clips of each speaker. You can also check out the event Media Advisory.

We have returned this page to providing an outline to our long-term organizing plan pertaining to gun violence, racial profiling, and the justice system:

Our Plan of Action

After the acquittal of George Zimmerman, we cried for the deep injustice we witnessed. Now, in the days following the verdict, we are out in the streets, demonstrating, marching, chanting, sharing the experience publicly, and making sure the rest of the country and the world sees that we will not be silent. Although the marching in the streets, by necessity of the demands of our daily lives, will die down, our resolve to fulfill the promises we have made to fight for justice for Trayvon Martin and all the young lives we have lost to gun violence, racial profiling, and police violence, wont.

The Hip Hop Caucus’ grassroots and national leadership has put forth a long-term organizing plan, honoring our collective promise to continue to the fight for justice, and for civil and human rights in the 21st century. Below is the outline for that plan. Register for the July 31st Town Hall to discuss it in more detail.

Legal and Policy Strategy


In coalition with our civil rights partners, we are calling for the Department of Justice to open a Civil Rights case against George Zimmerman, for racially profiling, stocking, and taking the life of Trayvon Martin. We are weighing in with Attorney General Eric Holder. A number of our partners are circulating online petitions to the Department of Justice, including the NAACP and Color of Change. We don’t want to duplicate efforts, so we encourage you to sign one of these petitions.


Honoring the too many young lives lost to gun violence, which are disproportionately lives of young Black men, we are working long-term for changes to our laws on these fronts:

  • Sensible Gun Policy Reform that protects communities and children from the threat of daily violence and killing
  • Repealing of Stand Your Ground Laws in every state in which they exist currently
  • An End to Racial Profiling by Law Enforcement
  • New Mechanisms for Federal Tracking of Police Killings, so that we may have accurate data about lives lost at the hands of Law Enforcement


50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

August 28th is the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. This will be just six weeks after the Zimmerman Verdict, and we will mobilize for this historic anniversary, lifting up the memory of Trayvon Martin by calling for justice.

On Saturday, August 24th, we are organizing a major march on the National Mall in Washington, DC, with our partners in the civil rights movement. We encourage you to join us in DC.

On Wednesday, August 28th, the official anniversary, we are asking folks around the country to host “Freedom Parties” in their cities to bring people together locally to discuss what our movement for civil and human rights needs to look like for the next 50 years. Get involved in these mobilizations here.

Trayvon Martin Foundation

Join with the Trayvon Martin Foundation, which was established by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin in March 2012, to create awareness of how violent crime impacts the families of the victims, and to provide support and advocacy for those families. The scope of the Foundation’s mission is to advocate that crime victims and their families not be ignored in the discussions about violent crime, to increase public awareness of all forms of racial, ethnic and gender profiling, educate youth on conflict resolution techniques, and to reduce the incidences where confrontations between strangers turn deadly. Get involved with the Trayvon Martin Foundation here.


Since Tuesday, July 16, young people under the leadership of the Dream Defenders, have been conducting a sit-in of Gov. Rick Scott’s office in the Florida State Capitol. The Dream Defenders are calling on the Governor to convene a special session of the legislature to enact the Trayvon’s Law to repeal Stand Your Ground, ban racial profiling, and end the school-to-prison pipeline in Florida. Get involved with the Dream Defenders movement here.

Accountability: 2014 Elections

We will hold our elected officials accountable to our justice agenda. 2014 marks mid-term elections, where Members of the U.S. Congress and Senate are up for re-election, state legislators are up for re-election, Governors, Mayors and Judges are up for re-election. “Respect My Vote!” our voter registration, education and get-out-the-vote campaign will be in full force and we will need your help.

We will be asking the candidates where they stand on racial profiling, gun reform, “Stand Your Ground” Laws, and police brutality, and sharing that information with young voters, so they can make informed decisions at the ballot box. We will also be sharing information about how those in office now have voted on these issues during their time in office.

Healing and Empowerment

Our communities are dealing with deep hurt, that too often we aren’t able to address or intentionally heal from. Changes in policy, increasing our political power, changing the public narrative about our communities through mobilization, are all critical pieces to creating the possibility of a better future for our children. But at the most basic level, we must heal from the pain of too much loss of life, especially young life, in our communities. We also must work on greater unity among our communities, based on an understanding of our collective history. To this end we are focusing particularly on projects and initiatives that advance healing and unity.

  • Children: Our concern is with our children’s ability to process, understand, and heal from violence in their own communities, which is compounded by participating in the national experience of high-profile cases like that of Trayvon Martin’s killing.
  • Black immigrant communities: We hope to build stronger bridges between African American history and the Black immigrant experience in this country, particularly in places like Miami. The purpose is to share the experiences of those from other countries, and that of the American experience, and to connect the dots between our common histories, to increase our unity.

RECAP: Our Virtual Town Hall on Hip Hop’s Trayvon Martin Response w/ Audio

Sybrina Fulton spoke beautifully and fiercely during our Town Hall about how we all need to stay engaged in this movement for peace and justice for our children.

Scroll down for audio clips.

On July 31, 2013, the Hip Hop Caucus held the Hip Hop National Virtual Town Hall: Our Trayvon Martin Response to discuss our long-term organizing plan in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012.

We were joined by Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin and co-founder of the Trayvon Martin Foundation, and Uncle Bobby, uncle to Oscar Grant. Grammy nominated recording Artist Raheem DeVaughn spoke, and award winning, internationally aclaimed poets jessica Care moore, and J. Ivy performed powerful spoken word pieces. The Dream Defenders joined us, from the state capitol in Florida. Florida State Senator Dwight Bullard, Hip Hop journalist and activist Davey D, and Hip Hop Caucus Leaders Brandi Williams, Dr. Roger Mitchell Jr., and Liz Havstad, all spoke to various issues and strategies for our generation. Rev Yearwood moderated the Town Hall and kept us focused on a long-term holistic community response. A full listing of speakers and how to reach them over social media, is below, along with audio recordings of their remarks during the Town Hall, just scroll down.

Nearly 1,800 people joined this virtual Town Hall over the phone, from around the country. For over two hours, folks listened to a diverse set of voices and leaders. We laid out short- and long-term actions, and an overall plan to address gun violence, racial profiling, and injustice within our justice system. A written outline of our plan is here.

It is well worth your time to listen to the full Town Hall or specific speakers, and please stay involved with the Hip Hop Caucus, follow us @HipHopCaucus.


Full Audio of the Town Hall


Spoken Word Performances from the Town Hall

jessica Care moore

jessica Care moore is an internationally renowned poet/ publisher/ activist/ rock star/ playwright and actor. She is a five-time Showtime at the Apollo winner. She is featured on Nas’ “Nastradamus” album and was a returning star of Russell Simmon’s HBO Series, Def Poetry Jam. jessica performed a beautiful spoken word piece following remarks from Sybrina Fulton and Uncle Bobby. Follow @jessicaCaremoor.

J. Ivy

J. Ivy is an artist, a poet, a producer. He is a Grammy-winner and a HBO Def Poet under Russell Simmons. He is featured on Kanye’s debut album College Dropout. J. Ivy began the Town Hall feeding our spirit, with an incredible spoken word piece. Follow @J_Ivy.

Individual Speakers from the Town Hall

Sybrina Fulton

Sybrina Fulton is the mother of Trayvon Martin. She co-founded the Trayvon Martin Foundation. And she has been such an amazing steward of justice, and representation of strength for all of us. Follow @SybrinaFulton & @TTMFoundation.


Uncle Bobby

Uncle Bobby – everyone simply calls him Uncle Bobby – is the uncle of Oscar Grant. For those that have not seen the film Fruitvale Station yet, go see it! It depicts the story of Oscar Grant, who was murdered by BART police (BART is the subway in the Bay Area), in the most horrific way, at the Fruitvale Station stop. Uncle Bobby and Oscar’s family were a part of huge mobilizations in the Bay Area for justice for Oscar. Visit www.oscargrantfoundation.com.


Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr.

Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. is President and CEO, of the Hip Hop Caucus. Follow @RevYearwood.

Raheem DeVaughn

Raheem DeVaughn is a Grammy nominated, R&B singer/song writer. Raheem did a tribute song for Trayvon. He told us about why he was moved to do that song, and also how artists can play a major role in the healing process of that our community is so in need. Follow @Raheem_DeVaughn.


Davey D

Davey D is journalist and activist who has been telling the stories of the Hip Hop community, when mainstream media wont, for the past couple of decades. Davey D is based out in the Bay Area. His radio show Hard Knock Radio, is an award-winning daily syndicated prime time afternoon show focusing on Hip Hop culture and politics, and is probably the best way to get to know Davey D. Follow @MrDaveyD.


Phil Agnew

Phil Agnew is Executive Director of the Dream Defenders. The Dream Defenders are sitting-in in the Governor’s office, demanding that the Florida legislature comes back into session to pass a Trayvon Law. Follow @PhilUnchained & @DreamDefenders.


Dwight Bullard

Dwight Bullard is a Florida State Senator. He represents Miami in the Florida Senate. He is of the Hip Hop generation. He was a public school teacher before being elected to office. Follow @DwightBullard.


Brandi Williams, Liz Havstad, Dr. Roger Mitchell Jr.

Brandi Williams is coordinator of Hip Hop Caucus Charlotte, and is a public relations professional. Liz Havstad is Director of Civic Engagement and Strategic Growth for the Hip Hop Caucus, and Dr. Roger Mitchell Jr. is coordinator of Hip Hop Caucus Newark and Chief Medical Examiner in Newark, NJ. Brandi, Liz, and Dr. Mitchell speak to Hip Hop Caucus’ mobilization and policy efforts, and how to get involved. Follow @mizzbea2u, @lizhavstad, and @rmitch_jr.




TODAY IS ELECTION DAY! Let’s get out there and VOTE!

Today is the BIG DAY! Now its time to exercise your right in our great democracy. Get to your polls and cast your vote today!

Here is a link to find your POLLING PLACE – https://2014.votinginfoproject.org/

Here is a link with info for your ELECTION PROTECTION – http://www.866ourvote.org/

If you have any problems at the polls, you can call 1-866-OUR-VOTE and they can help answer your questions.

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