LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An anti-gun violence and racial profiling rally was held Saturday in Crenshaw on the one-year anniversary of the controversial George Zimmerman verdict.
Zimmerman was acquitted in the murder of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin in Florida.
In Los Angeles Saturday, a large group of about 200 — including stars like Kobe Bryant — rallied for peace and justice.
CBS2’s Joy Benedict reported from the rally.
“What do we want? Justice!”
The familiar rally chant filled the streets of Crenshaw. The Zimmerman verdict came down a year ago and protesters Saturday said it still reverberates.
The judgment drew worldwide condemnation and scores of arrests.
The rally was organized by the Trayvon Martin Foundation. Leading the way, Martin’s parents.
The slain teen’s parents wanted the crowd to know why they were attending the gathering.
“It’s about being loyal to you guys because you have been so loyal to us,” Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, said.
“We want LA to know we stand with you. We understand, we support you,” Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, added.
Many in the crowd carried pictures and posters of loved ones who were killed in senseless acts of violence.
“My dad passed away from gang violence when I was 4 years old,” Tangela Terry told Benedict.
She reported that many in the crowd came to remember and others not to forget. Many also spoke out against racial profiling.
“There are many people who wake up every day who don’t have the choice to decide how we are perceived by the world,” said Kenya Parham.
After the march and rally, there was a community forum. One surprise guest delighted the crowd.
“Ladies and gentlemen the one and only, Black Mamba!”
Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant got a standing ovation from the crowd. He met with Martin’s parents before the event.
“When you look at Sybrina and Tracy, what they had to go through as a family and what they’ve come out of — that is true adversity,” Bryant said.
The basketball star drew criticism a few months ago for comments he made in the New Yorker. When asked about the Miami Heat wearing hoodies in a photo, in solidarity with Trayvon Martin, he said he wasn’t going to react to the photo just because he’s African-American.
On Saturday, he said he and other celebrities should use their voices for good. Especially to help young people.
“Out responsibility is more than putting a ball in a basket,” he said, “but giving them the platform to voice these inspirations.”