(Memphis) Hundreds in Memphis rallied for Trayvon Martin, demanding justice a week after a jury let go George Zimmerman for the shooting death of the 17-year-old. Saturday’s rally at the National Civil Rights Museum was one of about 100 nationwide.
The voices, claps and posters of protesters, battled the blazing hot Memphis sun yards away from where civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior was murdered.
“The little black boys and little black girls that Dr. King spoke about, one of those boys was Trayvon Martin,” exclaimed Memphis Mayor AC Wharton.
The crowd wants the Department of Justice to investigate George Zimmerman and if the former neighborhood watchman violated Trayvon Martin’s civil rights in February of 2011. People in Saturday’s crowd believe because of George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin can no longer live out Dr. King’s dreams.
The rally kicked off with a prayer for justice. But, Memphis native Betty Fortson says she's seen injustice for too long. The 64-year-old native Memphian remembers segregation vividly.
“I don't think it’s changed. It's just been covered up. Given another name, but it’s still there,” expressed Fortson.
As a mother she knows what it's like raising a black son. She says her son was profiled many times.
“He was stopped and frisked and had gun pointed at him,” recalled Fortson.
Fortson thinks Trayvon Martin was profiled the night he was killed. Then again when a jury acquitted George Zimmerman, believing Zimmerman was protecting himself from the unarmed teenager.
“People need to come together and understand each other. The Laws need to change,” said Fortson.
“We respect the law, but Dr. King told us an unjust law deserves no respect,” said Mayor Wharton.
Tennessee State Representative Antonio Parkinson says he’ll push to have state gun laws evaluated when the legislative session begins in January.
“Tennessee has our own stand your ground laws. We are going to take a look at the ones here and do a side by side comparison to what’s in Florida. We’re going to review it,” advised Parkinson.
Trayvon Martin`s face brands the movement for change, but many in Saturday's crowd looked nothing like him. Like 14-year-old old Zoe and her 8-year-old sister Ruby.
“Because of our past, people like to think that whites are better. It’s not true, everybody is equal,” said Zoe Elliotte.
Many in Saturday’s crowd say that equality isn't always shown and things need to change before another teen is killed.
“It was Trayvon yesterday, it will be Angelo in Orange Mound tomorrow,” said Mayor Wharton.
Organizers tell News Channel 3, Saturday’s rally was also a call to action. They hope it will start plans to decrease violence here in Memphis.