Over 150 people gathered Friday in Chicago to march in protest of the “senseless killing” of Trayvon Martin, 17. The marchers carried “bags of Skittles candy and cans of iced tea,” just as Trayvon was when he was shot by a community watchman who claimed he shot the teenager in self defense, according to the Sun Times.
Marchers chanted “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” as they traversed the city. One of the marchers, Ed Davis, said, “It has gone on too many times, too many years now you know this has come to a head and it is time for us all to speak out not just black people but everybody.”
Despite the evidence against him, Trayvon’s shooter has not been arrested and both the lack of an arrest and what is perceived as inadequate handling of the case, has spurred nationwide protests, with demonstrators donning hoodies and forcing a national discourse on racism and the necessity of justice.
The reason Zimmerman has not been charged with murder is that it is “difficult to arrest and prosecute homicide suspects who claim self-defense” under Florida’s Sand Your Ground Law, according to ABC.
Public outrage has grown recently, and in response President Obama spoke out Friday, saying, “If I had son, he’d look like Trayvon. I think [his parents] are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness that it deserves.”
Throughout the demonstrations held in the interest of justice for Trayvon Martin, there is a sentiment of universality – the child that was shot could have been anyone’s child, and the issue therefore is not just a local one. Velma Henderson, one of the Chicagoan marchers, said:
“We thought that we had arrived when we got Dr. King and he made way for us, so we just stopped marching…Now people do stuff to us and we just say, ‘Oh, it ain’t my problem, it ain’t my son, it ain’t my daughter.’ But it’s all our kids.”