Saturday, March 24, 2012

Chanting At The Trayvon Martin Million Hoodies March, Part II

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of a two part series on chants used during the March 22, 2012 Trayvon Martin Million Hoodies March in New York City, New York. Part II focuses on chants from the Trayvon Martin Million Hoodies March that were reported in news reports & tweets.

Part I showcases three selected videos of that march and provides text documentation of the chants from those videos. Part I also includes my overview of the structural types of chants used during those marches.

Click for Part I of this series.

These posts are provided for their historical, folkloric, educational, and motivational values.

This two part series isn't meant to be a comprehensive report of every chants that was used during the Trayvon Martin Million Hoodies March. However, I believe that these posts provide a good representation of the themes used for the marches' chants and of the types of chants that were used.

[This reports are presented in no ranking order. Italics have been added by me to highlight the chant/s reported]

News Report #1:
The Million Hoodie March: It's About Right and Wrong

By: Marcia Alesan Dawkins | Posted: March 24, 2012

In a piece for Truth Dig, Marcia Alesan Dawkins writes that while the Million Hoodie March was leaderless, the protesters' demands for justice for Trayvon Martin, combined with their digital footprint, sent a clear message.

Because it was leaderless, the march was very difficult for the NYPD to control. The three crowds diverged and converged several times, and there were moments of running, jumping and evading. Some protesters tore down the barricades surrounding the bull sculpture on Wall Street and climbed on it. But most of the crowd was walking through the fog and talking about how Trayvon Martin’s case is linked to institutional racism. And about how many are seeing the march as “Troy Davis 2.0,” as well as reminders of the tragic cases of Oscar Grant and Wendell Allen. Sometimes protesters shouted at the police and other times they chanted, “Stop stop and frisk!” Or, “Whose streets? Our streets!” Or, “Whose son? Our son!”

"Whose streets/our streets" and "Whose son?/our son?" are probably call & response chants.

News Report #2
Trayvon Martin 'Million Hoodie March' March Draws Hundreds In New York City
By DEEPTI HAJELA 03/21/12 11:37 PM ET

NEW YORK — The parents of a black teenager shot to death by a Hispanic neighborhood watch captain in Florida told hundreds of people at a march in his memory on Wednesday that they won't stop until they get justice for him.

"My son did not deserve to die," the teenager's father, Tracy Martin, said after thanking the crowd.

Martin's son, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was killed Feb. 26, in Sanford, Fla. He was returning to a gated community in the city after buying candy at a convenience store. He was unarmed and was wearing a hooded sweat shirt, called a hoodie.

The neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, has not been charged in the shooting. Zimmerman has said the teen attacked him and he shot him in self-defense.

On Wednesday night, demonstrators chanted "we want arrests" during the Million Hoodie March in Manhattan's Union Square.

News Report #3:

"Million Hoodie March” in New York Rallies Support for Trayvon Martin

Hundreds marched through the streets of New York to protest the death of the Florida teen.
By Jared T. Miller | @jaredtmiller | March 22, 2012
Supporters chanted “we want arrests!” and “we are all Trayvon” as they marched, many clad in hooded sweatshirts symbolic of the clothing Martin wore when he was killed.

News Report #4:

'Million Hoodie' march takes Union Square in protest of Trayvon Martin's fatal shooting

The demonstrators burst into a chant of “Justice for Trayvon!” as slain Florida teen's parents joined protest
By Edgar Sandoval AND Helen Kennedy / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 8:41 PM
Demonstrators wearing hoodies took turns calling out “Am I suspicious?"

A Debate on the #OWS and The #MillionHoodie March for #TrayvonMartin
By drgoddess

The tweets presented below are all of the examples of chants from the New York Million Hoodie March which were posted to the above mentioned tweet feed. With all but one exception that is noted, each of these tweets were posted by "sickjew" on March 21. I've given numbers to these examples for referencing purposes, and I've quoted the chant as it was given on that tweet feed.

Some of these tweets are prefaced by the word "Chants". I've included other tweets without that descriptor because those examples have been documented as chants that have been used in the Million Hoodies march or in other marches.

WARNING: One of the tweets that is featured below contains the beginning letter of a curse word. Also, a number of other tweets in that tweet feed contain profanity.

Editor's Note:
The main rally for the Trayvon Martin Million Hoodies March in New York City was held in Union Square. That same location has been the site of recent activities of New York City's Occupy Wall Street (OWS), including encounters with the New York City police. A number of the tweeters in the selected tweet feed whose link is given above express the opinion that the New York City Occupy Wall Street activists had their own agendas and attempted to "co-opt" (take over) the Million Hoodies March. According to those tweeters who attended this march, one way that the OWS marchers (or some of the OWS marchers) attempted to take over the Million Hoodies March was by chanting over speakers for the Million Hoodies March. Several tweeters in that feed disagreed with that allegation.

For the purposes of this post, that allegation raises the questions "Were the chants used by the OWS marchers different than the chants used by the Million Hoodies marchers, and if so, how were those chants different? "Which chants documented in the videos, news reports, and that tweet were from OWS and which chants were from Million Hoodies marchers? For example, "Mic Check" is a Occupy Wall Street phrase. That phrase is reported to have been used in the chant "Mic Check. Are you ready to march for Trayvon?" Also, "Which Street? Our Street" sounds like an OWS chant. Was this chant used only by OWS marchers, or was it also used (and maybe even started by) Million Hoodies marchers? And did OWS marchers join in the chant (or even start the chant) "Justice For Trayvon?"

It also should be mentioned that one chant that was noted in that tweet thread (#17 below), is given as an Occupy Wall Street chant. If this chant was said during the Trayvon Martin Million Hoodies March, did any non-Occupy Wall Street marchers join in that chant? And were the songs that were mentioned as being performed during that Million Hoodies March started and sung by Occupy Wall Street marchers or by Million Hoodies marchers or both? (if indeed there was a difference in that constituency.) I think these are valid questions, but I'm unable to answer them.

Tweet Examples Of Chants:
1. Chant: "We are Trayvon!"

2. Chant: "The people, united, will never be defeated!"

3. We will not be attacked anymore, will we?" "No!" "Will we?" "NO!"

4. Chant: "Enough is enough!"

5. Chant: "We are Trayvon Martin!"

6. Chant: "I am Trayvon Martin!"

7. Chant: "We've gotta beat back the racist attack! We've gotta beat, beat back the racist attack!"

8. Mic check: "Are you ready to march for Trayvon?"

9."No justice, no peace!"

10. "Whose streets? Our streets!"

11."No justice, no peace. Take to the streets and F the police!"

12. Chant: "Get up, get down, there's revolution in this town!"

13.Loud and vocal chants of: "We are Trayvon Martin!"

14. "What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!"

15. People singing, "Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around, turn me around..."

16. Group with guitar singing "This Little Light of Mine"

17. @luvvieig @huny --> RT @OccupyWallStNYC 1) We are the people. 2) We are united. 3) This Occupation is not leaving! #OWS #UnionSq.
candidreams, March 22, 2012

[I'm assuming this is one chant that has three parts.]

This concludes this two part series on chants used during New York City's Trayvon Martin Million Hoodies March.

Click for the related pancocojams post on "Chanting At Trayvon Martin March & Rally In Sanford, Florida".

My thanks to all those who organized and participated in that march. My prayers go to the family and friends of Trayvon Martin & to the family and friends of others who have died because of racial profiling. May they rest in peace and may we continue to work so that there will be justice without regards to race, or any other descriptors in this nation & in this world.

Thanks for visiting this page.

Viewer comments are welcome.


  1. Here's a link to a discussion thread on chants and songs in African American protest marches that I started in 2007: African American Protest Slogans & Songs

    The purpose of that thread was to explore the continuity & changes in protest slogans and songs that are associated with the Black American civil rights movement from the mid 1960s to date. The focus protest in that thread was "Jena 6". Google Jena 6 wikipedia. From that article:

    "The Jena Six were six black teenagers convicted in the beating of Justin Barker, a white student at Jena High School in Jena, Louisiana, on December 4, 2006. Barker was injured in the assault by the members of the Jena Six, and received treatment for his injuries at an emergency room. While the case was pending, it was often cited as an example of racial injustice in the United States, due to a belief that the defendants had initially been charged with too-serious offenses and had been treated unfairly."

  2. Thanks so much for providing a specific list of Justice for Trayvon/Social Justice rally/protest chants!

  3. You're welcome, butchrebel.I apologize for taking so long to respond to your comment.

    Besides the tragic circumstances, I think that such lists are important snapshots of a particular time & event. Furthermore, I believe that such lists are interesting to review in comparison with each other to help determine whether protests use the same or similar tactics as well as to see if certain conditions have improved, stayed the same, or worsened.