Hundreds marched through the streets of New York City on Wednesday night in memory of and to protest the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, in what organizers called the “Million Hoodie March.”
The march began in Manhattan’s Union Square, where a rally in support of Martin had taken place. Martin’s father Tracy Martin and mother Sybrina Fulton, in New York for interviews with major media outlets, made an appearance at the rally to thank the crowd for its enthusiasm. ”My heart is in pain,” Fulton said, according to the AP. “But to see the support of all of you really makes a difference.”
Supporters chanted “we want arrests!” and “we are all Trayvon” as they marched, many clad in hooded sweatshirts symbolic of the clothing Martin wore when he was killed. Though his murder was a catalyst for organizing the rally, several in attendance suggested a more general motivation for attending. ”This is something that can happen anywhere in America,” said Arthur Roberts, a clothing designer, as he marched. “The injustice for colored people in America is ridiculous, and it always has been.”
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The march was galvanized by an online petition, created by Martin’s parents, calling for a criminal investigation of their son’s killer, neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. Although only about 1,000 protested the crime in New York City, the “Million Hoodie March” was named in hopes of raising one million signatures for the petition.
A little more than an hour after the event, 937,065 signatures had been recorded.
“We’re not going to stop until we get justice,” Tracy Martin told the crowd gathered in Union Square, according to the AP. “My son did not deserve to die.”