A crowd wearing hooded sweaters of all colors gathered in downtown Ypsilanti Monday afternoon, one month after the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin of Florida.
The unarmed black teenager was wearing a hoodie when he was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in a gated community in Sanford, Florida. The man who shot Martin has not been arrested.
Jeff Clark lives in Ypsilanti, and helped organize the event.
“There are any number of people in this community who could be the next Trayvon Martin so it seemed important that some of us would rally together and send the message that we don’t want this to happen in our community, it’s not okay to make decisions about people based on skin color or clothing,” Clark says.
The teenager’s death has raised many questions about race and self-defense.
Natalie Holbrook also lives in Ypsilanti and is the mother of a 16-month old baby girl.
She says, “I’m hoping we can have some honest dialogues around race and racism and injustice in this country, and to also maybe start to think about our justice system fails so many people every day and that it’s not the ideal system and we need to do something with it.”
The man who shot Martin, George Zimmerman, told police that he shot the teen in self-defense.
Zimmerman followed the teen after calling 9-11 to report a suspicious person in the neighborhood, after police advised against it. Zimmerman has not been arrested.