Support for Trayvon Martin Spreads From Coast-to-Coast
City Councilman Bernard Parks and members of the Baptist Minister Conference called for justice Monday in the murder of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman last month.
A church service was led in public prayer for the young man, who authorities are now claiming was suspended from school in Sanford, Fla. for marijuana possession.
Martin's mother and father spoke in a televised news conference Monday, which marks the one-month anniversary of the shooting, saying their son was again being made a victim in order to protect Zimmerman.
Zimmerman, 28, told police that he shot Martin in self-defense. The teen's cyber and real-life supporters are dismissing the shooter's claims and persistently calling for his arrest.
Los Angeles community activist Najeele Ali, who attended the church service Monday, is not surprised by the bi-coastal activism and support for Martin and his family.
"It's simple," he said. "Every family has a Trayvon Martin. You have many parents who have children and they can imagine what would happen and how they would feel if their child were faced with the circumstances."
The uproar has sparked a debate of back-and-forth racial finger-pointing throughout the nation, even costing opinionated officers their jobs.
A New Orleans police officer was suspended Monday for posting a comment on a local television station's website about the fatal shooting, according to the Associated Press.
Jason Giroir identified himself as a New Orleans Police Department employee when he wrote, "Act like a thug die like one!" in response to a WWL-TV article about a rally supporting Martin. He has been suspended indefinitely without pay.
"This is not about black or white," Ali added. "This is about right and wrong. Anyone that has common sense knows that what happened to Trayvon Martin was wrong."
Zimmerman maintains his account of events and Sanford police defend their decision to not press charges.
From whatever side of the controversial shooting, the case has attracted local, national and political activists to speak out, or at least tweet out.
"The Trayvon Martin case certainly has the attention of everyone on Facebook, Twitter, and social media outlets around the world," Ali said. "That's the thing that’s been very empowering. Young people are engaging themselves and they are protesting at school, the park, neighborhoods."
Over 100 South Los Angeles students were expected to march early Monday afternoon at the Fremont High School campus but the social media initiated rally did not develop.