The Reverend Al Sharpton spoke words of wisdom to a Bethel Baptist Church crowd for Social Justice Awareness Sunday evening.
Sharpton emphasized three reasons why he was particularly motivated to travel to Tallahassee to speak: the Champion case, the Trayvon Martin case and voter suppression – all in Florida.
Among the crowd were the parents of Florida A&M Student Robert Champion and Trayvon Martin. Today marks six months since Martin’s death at the age of 17 and just over nine months since 26-year-old Champion died.
“We are still recovering,” said Sybrina Fulton.
Sharpton admired the fact that the Martin family’s search for justice has remained peaceful and non-violent.
“Despite the unfairness and injustice of what happened six months ago tonight, they’ve not uttered one public word of bitterness. They have maintained the integrity and the dignity of the civil rights movement.”
Benjamin Crump, the Martin family’s attorney, branded Trayvon Martin’s story as a historical reference for future generations.
“This nation and the state of Florida are in debt to the family of Trayvon Martin. No matter how long it takes we’re going to stand with Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin and devise a plan for justice because Trayvon Martin was our son, too.”
Sharpton advised college students to take advantage of their voting rights during the upcoming November election. He stressed that that voting will be essential to fighting the “Stand Your Ground” law.
“Older folks tell younger folks to vote because of what we did to get here,” Sharpton said. “Don’t vote because of what your grandfather did, vote because of what they’re trying to do to you today.”
The Reverend stimulated social change and reiterated the need for justice this day and age. The inspired crowd stood from the pews and applauded in agreeance with his urge to fight for equality and fairness.
Nicole Everett, FAMU alumni and Tallahassee Code Enforcement Board employee, described the event as “very encouraging, uplifting, motivating, and inspiring.”
“It was absolutely spell bounding,” said Earl Lee, The Boys Choir of Tallahassee director. “As I was sitting there I was just hoping, wishing that every black person in Tallahassee could have been here to hear this because it energized you. It makes you want to round up people and make sure everybody has an I.D. and make sure everybody votes.”
Pastor R.B. Holmes, too, acknowledged the need for social change.
“We’re going to start this chapter here in Tallahassee and this chapter must be and will be one of the greatest chapters of the National Action Network,” said Holmes.