NEW YORK — Hundreds of people took to New York City streets calling for justice for slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin on Wednesday evening (March 21). Protestors flooded Union Square in what was dubbed the Million Hoodie March, in support of the 17-year-old who was shot on February 26 by 28-year-old neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in a gated Sanford, Florida, community.
Martin’s parents led the demonstrators who demanded that Zimmerman be arrested.
The protest occurred the same day that the Sanford city manager announced that police could not arrest Zimmerman because he was protected by the so-called “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows Floridians to shoot anyone they believe is threatening them.
Martin, who was walking from the store to his dad’s home in the gated community, was wearing a hoodie when Zimmerman spotted him and called 911. Police dispatchers instructed Zimmerman not to pursue the teen, but by the time police arrived on the scene, Trayvon was dead.
“By not pressing charges against Zimmerman, they will be continuing a long and horrific history of Jim Crow justice in the deep south,” demonstrator Ben Becker told MTV News. “If we are not in the era of Jim Crow justice, George Zimmerman should be arrested and should be prosecuted for murder.”
“America really needs to open their eyes to the fact that there is still racism in America,” protestor Nicole Sams said. “That racism killed a 17-year-old kid.”
Union Square protestors wore hoodies as a sign of solidarity and took turns calling out, “Am I suspicious?” and then chanting, “We want arrests.” Several held signs that read, “I am not a hoodlum, I just wear hoods.”
“We’re not going to stop until we get justice,” Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, said to the crowd. His mother, Sabrina Fulton, thanked the supporters while acknowledging her own grief saying. “My heart is in pain, but to see the support of all of you really makes a difference,” she said.