Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, contributes a Skittles bag to the tree in front of Ebony Barber Shop, in memory of Trayvon Martin.                                       Photo by Mary Mumbrue

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The July 13 “not guilty” verdict for George Zimmerman sparked protests across the country. He was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, an African American youth, in Sanford, Fla.

Like many others, Brigitte Giles was upset by the acquittal, and like many others, she found a peaceful, positive way of registering her feelings.

 “I got so angry after the verdict came out that I put a bag of Skittles on the tree,” she said. “It made me feel better to see it blowing in the wind.”

Skittles have become a universal cultural icon for Trayvon Martin, who was reportedly carrying a bag of Skittles when he was shot.

Ms. Giles’ idea has caught on, and colorful Skittles wrappers now adorn the tree in front of her Ebony Barber Shop on Dodge Avenue just north of Church Street. People are joining her effort by buying bags of Skittles, pouring the candy into a bag she keeps for neighborhood children who come by, and hanging the wrappers on the tree. Pointing to the largest bag so far, Ms. Giles said, “This one is from the Mayor [Elizabeth Tisdahl].”

A small crowd was waiting on July 23, when Fifth Ward Alderman Delores Holmes came by with her Skittles. “It makes us feel like we’ve done something,” said Ms. Giles of the rapidly growing memorial. “It feels good when you see it – it is something good.”

Said Ald. Holmes, “Good things can happen at Church and Dodge.”

Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...