St. Louis, MO (KTVI) - St. Louisans marching downtown this morning demanded justice for a teenager killed in a gated Florida community by a neighborhood watch captain. Political leaders including Lewis Reed, President of the Board of Aldermen, several aldermen and state representatives joined in.
Protestors gathered on the steps of St. Louis City Hall before heading west on Market St. to 18th St. Chanting "no justice, no peace" marchers waved signs and held up cans of tea and bags of Skittles to represent the items 17-year old Trayvon Martin was carrying when he was killed February 26.
The neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, has not been arrested. He told police he felt threatened by Martin who was wearing a dark hoodie. Some of the St. Louis marchers wore hoodies or sweat shirts with hoods to make the point clothing does not define one's character.
The march continued along Olive to Tucker and back up Pine to the city's Soldiers Memorial. Speakers standing on the steps of the Memorial led the crowd in prayer, read poetry, sang songs and urged the crowd to return to their neighborhoods to make them safe for young people.
Young men involved in organizing the march called on the crowd of more than 300 to begin a new movement to bring safety to neighborhoods. " If we don't we're gonna have a Trayvon Martin situation happen again and it will happen again," predicted Darryl Frierson.
Undre Howard said he grew up with Trayvon's father Tracy Martin in East St. Louis. He spoke to him by telephone just before the St. Louis march.
"They are hurting right now and nothing is being done about what happened to their son. Their son was tracked down and killed by a neighborhood watch captain who had no right to even approach him for any reason," said Howard.
But Howard said his friend appreciated the support in St. Louis. "It shows solidarity that people know that when something is wrong we can come together and we can do something about this," Howard added.
Keith Antone Willis, Sr. took the microphone asking the crowd to imagine what impact they could have if every time a black man or woman was shot in their community a similar sized crowd would show up.
"Let me just be real.. we killing more of us... we killing more of us than they ever will do," Willis told the crowd drawing shouts of agreement.
He added, "We ought to let this be the beginning of a movement and I'm hoping that today you heard something that will get you more involved in your community."
Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed closed the event saying, " We leave here with a renewed sense of justice. Let's not let this moment pass without that in our hearts."
Friday evening a vigil was held in Tower Grove Park in support of Trayvon's father and calling for charges in this Florida case.
The heavy rainfall was referred to as tears from heaven falling for Trayvon Martin by one of the speakers at the rally.
The rain has not stopped more than 400 people from gathering to show their support for Trayvon Martin's family, as well as their outrage at the lack of charges in the murder.
Close friends of Trayvon Martin's father, who lives in East St. Louis, read some excerpts from Trayvon's obituary, while other members of the community took turns speaking to the large.
Over the outcries for the arrest of George Zimmerman, the speakers sang songs, some read poetry, and many led the rally in prayers for Trayvon and his family.
There were homemade signs and hundreds of hooded sweatshirts worn to symbolize their support.
One member of the crowd Dorothy Ward made a sign with her friend that said "Don't kill our children" which she said sums up the concern of an entire country.
After an hour and 45 minutes the crowd dispersed and went home.
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