LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Members of a Southern California church are joining the many voices across the nation calling for justice in the death of Trayvon Martin. The unarmed African American teen was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida. The gunman has not been charged in the incident.
Community members gathered at Trinity Church of Los Angeles Sunday to discuss the the racially-charged shooting at the event, “Hoodies For Justice: Trayvon Martin”.
Corey Brown, 20, came to join hands with the community to pray for healing, call for justice and discuss racial tensions.
“We just want to stand up for him,” Brown said.
On the day Martin was shot he was walking home from the store. Neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman began following Martin and called 911 to report him as “suspicious”. The teen was reportedly unarmed and was carrying a bag of Skittles candy. Zimmerman told police that Martin confronted him and he shot the teen in self-defense. But Martin’s family says he was targeted because of his race. The Washington Post reports that Zimmerman’s father is white and his mother is Hispanic.
The police department in Sanford, Florida, has been criticized for not arresting Zimmerman.
Organizers of the “Hoodie” event released the following statement:
“Although an isolated incident, his violent death serves as a reminder that injustice is alive and well in 2012, and we – as a community – cannot afford to lose another young person of color under such conditions without our voices being heard and appropriate action taken.”
Attendees were asked to wear a hoodie in response to a comment made by FOX News commentator Geraldo Rivera that Martin wearing a hoodie was as much to blame for his death as Zimmerman.
“There’s a lot of young African American men that always wear hoodies…out on the street, they look at us as a part of a gang or something,” Brown said.
Bishop Craig Worsham said he wants Sunday’s event to be an ongoing dialogue with the community, and that there would be more events to ensure it.