SANFORD, Fla. — Leading up to Thursday evening’s Al Sharpton-emceed rally to honor 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and demand justice after his killing, scores of protesters donned Trayvon merchandise.
T-shirts prominently featuring photos of Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, and pictures of Martin were for sale throughout Sanford, Fla.
One man sold shirts that read “Arrest Zimmerman” in bold red font with a photo of the shooter on the front and “I am Trayvon” on the back.
“I have kids not too much younger than the young man who was killed so I think when someone kills someone, there should be some kind of investigation and accountability — more than just letting the person walk away from the scene without being interrogated,” the man told The Daily Caller.
A young woman and her friend sold blue and off-white shirts that read “enough is enough.”
“This is not the first time this has happened,” she said of the shirt’s message. “It’s been since February 26. I mean, enough is enough. [Zimmerman] is supposed to have been arrested.”
Nation of Islam representatives were on scene in Sanford, too, peddling merchandise and trying to enlist new recruits. James Muhammad, the assistant regional minister of the Nation of Islam’s seventh region, told TheDC that he and others from his organization were on scene because of “injustice.”
“The reason is our love for our people and our intolerance for having our children shot down outside of the law of justice,” Muhammad said.
Those with Muhammad at the event were selling copies of the Nation of Islam’s official publication — The Final Call — which Louis Farrakhan publishes. Farrakhan, a radical and divisive figure, has predicted “retaliation” will be coming “soon and very soon.”
For a buck, rally-goers could purchase copies of the paper from Muhammad’s associates — with the headline “JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON! Demands for arrest, criticism of police grows in case of Florida teen killed by White community patrol captain.” That statement is incorrect, however, as Zimmerman is not White. He is Hispanic, and according to a statement his father gave the Orlando Sentinel, he has a racially mixed family and black relatives.
Muhammad said there’s an underlying hatred of black people in this country. “It’s deeper than the chief of police, it’s deeper than the mayor,” Muhammad said. “It’s deeper than the government. It’s deeper than the president. The reality of it is there is an underlying atmosphere of racism in this country, where the administration of justice is inconsistent and the enforcement of law is inconsistent based on your ethnicity, based on your race.”
Others sold t-shirts emblazoned with puns about how Martin was not armed when he was shot. When Zimmerman shot him, Martin was only carrying a bottle of ice tea and a pack of Skittles, so slogans on the shirts joked about how dangerous someone armed with candy could be.
Rally-goers could buy Trayvon buttons and pins, too, while other attendees passed out signs to the crowd. (SEE ALSO: In Florida, New Black Panthers rip Obama, Holder over Martin shooting)
Local residents also capitalized on the opportunity to make a quick buck, selling snacks and drinks to the four or five thousand people on site. A barbecue food stand opened up on one corner of Sanford’s Fort Mellon Park selling snacks to Trayvon supporters, and a cart offering rainbow snow cones rolled up on another park corner.
And given the heat of Central Florida, no impromptu rally would have been complete without young men selling bottled water, Gatorade and soda to attendees as they walked by with personal roller-coolers.