Demonstrators Demand Justice in Trayvon Martin Shooting at Rally in Anchorage and March in Florida
ANCHORAGE/DELAND, FL - More than a month after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in a gated Florida neighborhood, the impact of his death has made its way here to Anchorage.
“Justice for Trayvon” was the chant of several dozen Anchorage residents who participated in a rally for justice Downtown Saturday afternoon.
Hosted by the Anchorage NAACP, the demonstrators said justice would mean a complete investigation and trial for Martin's killer, who has not yet been arrested.
But they said the case has ties here in Alaska, too.
Martin's shooter remains free under Florida’s self defense law.
A similar version of that law, House Bill 80, is currently under consideration in Juneau.
"It could be misinterpreted, it could be misunderstood, and as you can see it could probably lead to the needless, needless death of young people. And not only that, I think that it also leaves open a more permissive attitude towards racial profiling,” said Wanda Green of the Anchorage NAACP.
Both Vince Beltrami, president of the Alaska AFL-CIO, and Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Alaska attended Saturday’s rally.
The special prosecutor assigned to the Trayvon Martin case in Florida has yet to decide if the man who killed him, George Zimmerman, will face charges.
In Florida, dozens of student demonstrators and others are in the midst of a three-day march from Daytona to Sanford.
They're protesting how the Trayvon Martin case was handled, and want an arrest of George Zimmerman.
CBS correspondent Susan McGinnis reports from DeLand, Florida.
Protestors marched down Route 92 in Velusia County Florida, on a 3 day trek to Sanford,
One of the marchers, Susan Dupree, believes police and others didn't do enough after Martin was killed.
“At the very least there should have been an investigation,” Dupree said. “When a child is murdered, by a grown person, there's a reason for investigation.”
Dupree says that's why she joined this group, called the Dream Defenders, comprised of students and alumni from several Florida universities.
They walk by day, and sleep in churches by night, working their way toward Sanford, picking up more folks along the way, who believe there's a lot at stake here.
“I just want to be able to know, as a young black male, or anybody, that something can happen and that you’re going to be protected, that you don't have to worry this is going to be pushed under the rug,” said demonstrator Antonio Hairston.
When they reach Sanford, the demonstrators say they plan to engage in non-violent civil disobedience. They are hoping to draw attention to what they see as an injustice, and they are hoping for an arrest.
“We're not trying to arrest him in the court of public opinion, but we want him tried in court, and that has to start with an arrest,” said Dream Defenders organizer Vanessa Baden.
As the Dream Defenders march, all sides await word from the special prosecutor on whether Zimmerman will face charges.
The Dream Defenders planned to march through Sanford on Easter Sunday, with their journey ending in a worship service at Allen Chapel, joined by attorney for Trayvon Martin, Benjamin Crump, and plan demonstrations for Monday as well.