Crowds Join Slain Youth's Parents In 'Hoodie March'

A rally was held in New York City's Union Square Wednesday night in memory of Trayvon Martin, who was shot dead by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla., last month. The man has not been charged in Martin's death.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Today, Justice Department officials meet with family of Trayvon Martin. The unarmed African-American teen was shot in Florida by a neighborhood watch volunteer. Last night, Martin's parents joined a rally in New York's Union Square, and NPR's Margot Adler attended.

MARGOT ADLER, BYLINE: There was rage, sadness and also the feeling of a prayerful community gathering. When the parents of Trayvon Martin spoke, the crowds pushed closer to get a look and shouted words of encouragement. Tracy Martin, the teenager's father, spoke first.

TRACY MARTIN: George Zimmerman took Trayvon's life for nothing. George Zimmerman took Trayvon's life profiling him. My son did not deserve to die, but I'm here today to assure that justice is served and that no other parents have to go through this again.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD)

ADLER: Then came Sybrina Fulton, Martin's mother.

SYBRINA FULTON: We need this kind of support. Our son is your son. I want you guys to stand up for justice, and stand up for what's right.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD)

ADLER: Many African-Americans in the crowd said it could have been their son or daughter. It was called the Million Hoodie March, by Daniel Maree, one of the organizers.

DANIEL MAREE: Trayvon was murdered while wearing a hoodie. And the reason George Zimmerman gave for shooting him was that he looked suspicious. So, again, knowing that feeling of being in a hoodie and sometimes I've got to take my hoodie off, because I feel - I know people are going to hold their purse weird, or something, I wanted to de-stigmatize the hoodie among people of color.

ADLER: It was called the Million Hoodie March, but that was not the number at the gathering. It was a call for a million signatures by the end of the night on a petition calling for the shooter's arrest. There were apparently 800,000 signatures before the rally began.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHANTING)

ADLER: At the end of the rally, people marched to Washington Square chanting: We are all Trayvon Martin.

Margot Adler, NPR News, New York.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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