“I say Trayvon, you say Martin”

That was the chant led by Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson during a march up Malcolm X Boulevard towards Ruggles Station tonight. Here are some of the things I heard at the rally beforehand:

“The system cannot fail those it was never meant to defend.”

“We have a lot of politicians here and it’s a fucking photo opportunity.”

“I’m tired and angry and I don’t have a speech prepared.”

“You all think you’re tired now? You didn’t march in the sixties, the seventies, the eighties. We are just getting started!” (State Representative Gloria Fox)

“The lives of our sons and daughters are not respected. They’re not valued. And we have the power to turn that around. . . . We have the right and the responsibility to challenge racism, sexism, homophobia . . . any form of abuse and exploitation of human beings.” (City Councilor Charles Yancey)

“Instead of buying the damn shirts, put the money into the damn libraries.”

“You must remember that the system will always be here. It was here before you, and it will be here after you die. We must shake it to its foundation.”

“Trayvon is, or should be, the straw that broke this camel’s back.” (The same speaker went on to describe being harassed by police: “We got into a scuffle. Not on my side. I was not scuffling, I was being scuffled.”)

“Don’t come up in here and be all like, ‘Yes we got a black president, so what?’ That’s a big deal!”

“The justice system worked, it was the law that was wrong.” (Radical lawyer S. disagreed with this. “You can’t say it’s just this tiny little piece. The whole system is fucked up,” she said when I asked her about it.)

“My black and brown Latinos, we don’t get treated like [Zimmerman]. We get treated like every other black person out there. No one is asking George Zimmerman where his papers are. No one is telling him to go back to his country. Because this is his country. This country made him.” (A young activist from Villa Victoria)

“I started to cry [when I heard the verdict]. I broke down and cried.”

“There’s no word in the six million words in the English language for someone who’s lost a child, because it’s not supposed to happen.” (Tito Jackson)

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. But this isn’t close to freedom.” (A thirteen-year-old)

“Many of us here today know the star-spangled banner, excuse my language or don’t, is a fucking joke.”

“The only thing BPS [Boston Public Schools] taught me was how to hide a weapon.”

“There’s some ugly motherfucking shit going on around here.” (Overheard in the crowd.)

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