Trayvon Martin’s legacy turned 24 years old on February 5.
In commemoration of their son, brother, friend and neighbor, the Trayvon Martin Foundation held the Seventh Annual Peace Walk in Miami Gardens. The Peace Walk is an interactive activity for the community, in which youth, leaders and celebrities work together in truthful and informational dialogue about empowering young people.
Dozens of people walked for peace starting from the Gardens Promenade, 18200 NW 27 Ave., to Carol City Park, 3201 NW 185 St. for the Peace Talk. The talk included encouraging words from Omari Hardwick, Michael Eric Dyson and a performance by Santonio Carter.
At the Gardens Promenade, members of the South Florida community gathered in support for Trayvon Martin and others - who are primarily young, African-American and live in the nation's inner cities.
While the crowd grew, there was some entertainment from The Miami Gardens Super Soul Steppers, the drumline from Jo A. Harris' Alliance for Musical Arts and the Miami Gardens Carol City Senior High Marching Band as seen here in this Instagram story.
The area's School Board representative Steve Gallon III, Sybrina Fulton, Tracy Martin, Omari Hardwick and Jahvaris Martin led way the way immediately behind the Trayvon Martin Foundation's Peace Walk banner as they made their out of the Gardens Promenade and headed West on Miami Gardens Drive to Carol City Park.
Long before the group arrived, Fulton requested Carter, whose son King Carter was killed when he was 6 during a shootout, perform a version of the song “Glory” by John Legend and Common. Carter is working on a studio album which will be released under his stage name is Blaze Carter. On the stage at Carol City Park he performed Common's verses and added an original.
“This is for the people who struggled to make it better. This is for the people who died trying to bring us together,” is one bar from Carter’s verse. (A bar is two lines of a Hip-Hop song, while a stanza is one line in a poem.)
Carter said the Peace Walk is needed for the community as a way of bringing out members and showing the life of loved ones lost are still going on. It’s an event that gets community members to work with people in the city, he said.
“Not just politicians, pastors or police because a lot of people can’t relate to them, but influential people in the community,” Carter said. “That’s a big plus to see them back in the community. People have to know they have people who will be their voice.”
He encouraged others to be a part of the cause to end gun violence.
“A lot of people are numb to the fact gun violence is a club no one asked to join. I encourage everybody to get out and join the effort.”
Michael Eric Dyson is a professor, author, preacher and radio host who often speaks of racial injustice. His message during the Peace Talk was about the narrative of African-Americans.
“Whether it’s from the media or statisticians, people try to create a narrative with numbers. Do not allow the numbers to shape our narrative, it happens with other races but it’s just not being reported.”
Shevrin Jones, Florida House Representative for district 101, said the Peace Walk & Talk was a great show of unity for the people in the surrounding community.
“It was a great example of turning hurt into healing,” Jones said.
For the idea of youth empowerment, Jones said more adults need to accept responsibility to be role models to young people.
“A lot of our households are single-parent. Therefore to help a child, each of us, we all, have to step up. we can’t keep speaking about an unbalanced society if we’re not going to step up and help balance it.”
Jones also said about support for events like the Peace Walk & Talk encourages those who advocate for social change.
“As much as we think the message is getting lost in the madness, it’s not. People on the forefront who are fighting for justice, they hear us and they see us.”