Chicago rallies for Trayvon Martin

March 25, 2012 9:36:26 AM PDT
For the second day in a row, Chicagoans marched to call attention to the shooting death of an unarmed black teen in Florida.

Several hundred gathered in Daley Plaza to protest the Feb. 26 killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. Many in the crowd wore hoodies, the item of clothing that in 9-1-1 calls Zimmerman claimed made Martin look suspicious as he walked through his gated community in the Orlando suburb of Sanford.

People across the country are marching in rallies, demanding justice following the shooting death of the unarmed African-American teen.

"This is the kind of stuff you have nightmares about," said Jarim Scott. "You can only protect your kids so much."

Ian Lewis, 15, attended Saturday's rally with his father.

"I'm thinking it could happen to pretty much any one of us which is pretty unfortunate," Ian Lewis said. "You've got to watch your back."

Martin's death has once again brought the issue of race in America and the negative stereotypes of African-American men to the forefront.

"They're saying Trayvon Martin is the modern day Emmett Till," said Airickca Gordon-Taylor, a cousin of Till's who attended the rally. Till, 14, was murdered by a group of white men while visiting Mississippi in 1955. No one was ever convicted.

"I don't see millionaires being put in jail for ruining our economy, but someone like Trayvon Martin is killed because he's walking home and he's suspicious," protester Jim Rudd said.

Elsewhere in Chicago, others also expressed their outrage at the slaying.

A weekend job fair was dedicated to Martin.

Zimmerman said he confronted Martin as he walked back to his father's house after going to the store for candy and a can of tea because he looked suspicious in the gated community.

"This is a vigilante, a young clansman, who was walking and preying on a young man in Florida," Jonathan Jackson said at Rainbow PUSH Saturday. "We demand justice."

And a day after President Obama spoke out on the issue, Sen. Dick Durbin added his voice, criticizing the stand your ground state laws that allow citizens who are not police officers to shoot others who they deem a threat.

"This notion that anyone can carry a gun and call himself a security official and roam the streets in any town in America should be thought through carefully," Durbin said. "This man who did this had four months of training and i don't even know if it did any good."