Organizer Kumira Mason said this was the third march held in Anniston this week. Mason encouraged everyone in attendance to register to vote and sign a petition asking for a civil trial for George Zimmerman, the Hispanic man acquitted of Martin’s killing in Florida last week.
"For justice," Mason said, is the purpose of the events. "Not just for Trayvon Martin … but also that justice is done and served in Calhoun County.”
“This is not a black and a white issue. It’s everybody’s issue,” Mason said.
Several children held up lettered signs that spelled “Trayvon” as the crowd began their walk down Noble Street. One woman wore a T-shirt bearing the image of Martin that read, “My ‘hoodie’ does not mean I’m a criminal.”
Tommy Diltz said he came to the rally because he wanted to show his support and sign the petition for a civil trial.
“I’m 17. It could have been me,” Diltz said.
Everyone joined together singing Bill Withers’ song “Lean on Me” as they walked back to the steps of the Federal Building.
Robert Montgomery of Eastaboga said he fought for his country overseas in the Army, but feels he can’t expect to find justice on his own soil.
“In three months this will all be forgotten about, he’ll be able to walk outside his house. Trayvon’s parents will still be mourning,” Montgomery said of Zimmerman. “I don’t know what it’s going to take.”
Anniston resident Telesa Stanford told the crowd gathered once again on the steps that this trial has taught her fear.
“Trayvon Martin wasn’t doing anything wrong. There was nothing for anybody to fear from him. All he did was go to the store to get some candy and he never made it home.”
Several children listened to Stanford while eating Skittles, the same candy Martin had in his possession the night he was shot.
Stanford received several “Amen’s” and applause when she said listening to people talk about Martin like he was a thug and his life meant nothing scared her.
“In this country they would do more to protect a dog,” she said to a raucous applause from her audience.
Anniston City Councilman Seyram Selase said this was the first rally he’d attended.
Selase told the crowd it was “so sad what happened to brother Trayvon Martin, but he wasn’t the first and he probably won’t be the last.”
The councilman said he’d like to see more attendance at Anniston council and board of education meetings to bring change to the Model City.
“It’s so very important for us to get involved at the local level … Sign the petition,” he said.
Mason said she’s planning another rally in August on 15th Street in Anniston.
Staff Writer Rachael Brown: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @RBrown_Star.