Fathers of Trayvon Martin and Ramarley Graham Speak on Eve of Protest March

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"It's hard to imagine Father's Day without Trayvon," said Tracy Martin, "I want to stand for the million voiceless fathers that have lost their children."

Just hours before Father's Day, the father of the young boy gunned down by George Zimmerman spoke somber words and held back tears in front of a crowd of 200 people. Once again, Mr. Martin was forced to face the undeniable reality of a dad's worst nightmare: to outlive his son. 

Speaking at Al Sharpton's National Action Network headquarters in Harlem, Mr. Martin joined forces with Franclot Graham, the father of Ramarley - the young Bronx teen who was mistaken for having a gun and shot dead by a police officer this past February. Graham did not hide his emotions on the subject either:

"To me, my son was murdered. I lost my son to people we pay to protect us," he said.

While Zimmerman awaits his trial for second-degree murder and the police officer behind Ramarley's death faces manslaughter charges, Tracy Martin and Franclot Graham stood side-by-side to lend their voices to a larger cause; one that will take off this afternoon and, some believe, will attract thousands of people. 

The rally Uptown yesterday was a prequel for a protest that has been heavily planned by civil rights groups and the New York Civil Liberties Union. At 3pm this Father's Day, a silent march will start at 110th Street and make its way down Lenox Avenue. The subject: the racial profiling of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy.

Facing a class action lawsuit and a judge who declared that "overwhelming evidence" exists in opposition to the policy, Bloomberg and NYPD Commish Kelly continue to support stop-and-frisk, which racked up 600,000 stops last year. As the sponsor of the march, it was the NYCLU that put together a study that showed the stops were basically for African-Americans and Hispanics only.

Fellow Voice scribe Steven Thrasher will be attending the march this afternoon and we will have the latest updates from his reporting in Harlem this Father's Day. Check back with the Voice for the scene on the ground.

[jsurico15@gmail.com/@JSuricz]
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