RICHMOND — In an expression of dismay over the handling of the shooting death of a Florida teenager, residents of Richmond held a Million Hoodie March on Monday.
The event, attended by more than 50 people, began with a rally on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University. Participants then marched to the Madison County courthouse, chanting, "We want peace; We want justice."
The march is one of a number of similar events that have been held throughout the country in the wake of the shooting of Trayvon Martin, 17, who was killed in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26.
"We can't just not make our voices heard," said Norman Powell, an EKU faculty member who attended the rally with his wife and son. "It looks like he was murdered primarily because he was African American and he had a hoodie on. ... We're going to have to learn how to live together. If you can do it to one person, it can be done to anybody."
Martin, who was unarmed, was walking home through a gated community after buying Skittles and iced tea at a local store when he was shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain.
Zimmerman has claimed self-defense and has not been charged. The U.S. Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the case.
Most of those in attendance at Monday's march wore hooded sweatshirts.
Zimmerman told the 911 operator before the shooting occurred that Martin was wearing a hoodie and looked suspicious.
"It's not about the clothes that you wear, but the content of your character," said Keith Joy, an EKU graduate student who helped organize the event.
Joy quoted the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in speaking to the crowd, saying, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Tiffany Mosley brought her son Kobe, 10, to the rally. Kobe wore a hoodie with a sign pinned to the front that said, "Am I next?"
"This kid didn't have to die," Tiffany Mosley said. "He could and should be alive."
She said that as a mother, the situation worries her.
"It won't be long 'til I have to send him out into the world," she said. "I want to know that I won't have to worry about him never coming home again."
At the conclusion of the rally, participants were given the opportunity to sign a petition calling for the arrest of Zimmerman, which Joy said would be mailed to Trayvon Martin's parents.
"There's not justice," Joy said. "It's clear what needs to happen, but it's not getting done."