Chicago rally brings attention to youth murders

April 1, 2012 3:34:01 PM PDT
Church and community members Sunday protested against the murders of Chicago youth and the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.

Organizers of the march said while they are upset about the death of Martin, they note that too many teens are being killed right here on the streets of Chicago.

The group behind Sunday's rally at a far West Side church expressed solidarity with the Martin family, but also raised concerns about the civil rights fight in this country.

Willie Williams Jr.'s 17-year-old-son, Willie III, was murdered six years ago Sunday.

"We need to talk about this pretty much every day," Williams said. "We can't stop talking about it because it's happening pretty much every day. A lot of things do not get reported on the television."

Members of the Greater St. John Bible Church, the community and others took to the streets with the message that racism and violence will not be tolerated.

They were led by the Rev. Ira Acree, who donned a grey hoodie in honor of Trayvon Martin after his church's Sunday service.

"But we would be hypocrites to stand hear and cry out for justice for Trayvon Martin when we've got young boys and young girls being gunned down right under our nose," Acree said.

The gunman who shot Martin, 28-year-old George Zimmerman, has not been charged and claimed he acted in self-defense.

Meanwhile, the incident continues to spark protests and marches, like one organized by the faith community for Monday night.

State Rep. Greg Harris will participate and said intolerance of any kind is not acceptable.

"(The march is to) just remind their families, you're not alone and to remind everyone else, we've got to stop the violence," Harris said.

On Chicago's West Side Sunday, a remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., will serve as the backdrop for a rally for justice and a discussion of the state of civil rights in America.

"It's a necessity for us to be able to see how the Trayvon Martin case and the movement of Dr. King really shows us we have a long way to go," said the Rev. Paul Jakes, of New Tabernacle of Faith Baptist Church.

Some of those taking part in events Sunday afternoon and this evening said they also hope to bring the issue of racial profiling to the forefront as well.

Last week, the U.S. Justice Department launched its own investigation into the shooting of Trayvon Martin and a grand jury was also convened to review evidence in the case.