“I’m here because of Trayvon,” said eight-year-old Cunnisha Moten, attending the march with her grandmother, Brenda Cochran.
“I’ve been in Martin Luther King marches, a few of them,” said grandmother Cochran, who brought her 13 grandkids to the march. “I came out to this one because of the cause.”
The cause, said March Organizer Veronica Fields, was to demand justice for Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old boy shot and killed on Feb. 26 by 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman claimed Martin looked suspicious covered in a hoodie while walking through his neighborhood. Soon afterward, there was a physical altercation between the two which ended when Zimmerman fatally shot Martin. Zimmerman claims he shot Martin in self-defense and so far has not been arrested.
“I am out here because that could have been my kid,” said Barbara Atkinson. “This isn’t about color, this is about justice and about the human race.”
“This march is not just about Trayvon, it’s about victims of senseless violence in our community,” said Fields. “Before we’re Black, White, Hispanic or Asian, we’re all human.”
Before the march, participants gathered at Boeing Plaza for a short rally, where community leaders called for peace and unity within the community.
“Senseless violence can’t happen, police brutality can’t happen, racism can’t happen, and our young people are going to change that,” said Jonathan Ervin.
Hearns said he was moved to attend the march and rally after receiving a phone call from Fields.
“If the significance of this is all about bringing people together as a unit, I’m with that, if it’s about sharing our love for the families that lost, I’m all for that,” Hearns said.
Hearns also praised 25-year-old Fields for her efforts in mobilizing so many young people and said that he had spoken to Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris who asked him to pass along a message to the young people, as well.
“He said he’s encouraged by your courage,” Hearns told the crowd.
Ervin laid out the plans for the march.
“We’re going to teach a civics lesson to our youth like how Martin [Luther King] used to do it,” Ervin said. “We going to march to city hall and register to vote and then we’re going to use our economic power and go buy some stuff on the Blvd.”
The march kicked off about 5:30 p.m. Waving signs bearing Trayvon’s picture and pumping their fists the group chanted a call and response as they marched west on Lancaster Blvd, north on Beech Avenue, and then west on Kettering to City Hall.
“I am Trayvon! We are Trayvon! Justice for Trayvon! When do we want it? Now!” the group chanted.
“We are going to call many times to ask for justice, but nothing is going to change until we vote,” said LULAC President Lilia Galindo.
“This is a new Antelope Valley,” said TCAL Board Member Pharaoh Mitchell. “We’re the ones who can vote people in to office and we can vote people out.”
“Our challenge today is for us to love each other, for us to embrace each other, because we are blood of each other’s blood, and flesh of each other’s flesh, and either we go down together as a family or we go up together, but regardless, one way or another, we’re going as a family,” said V. Jesse Smith.
Another speaker, Stan Muhammad, commanded attendees to continue their activism.
Several young people also signed the backs of “Justice for Trayvon” posters, which Fields said would be sent to Trayvon’s parents.
“To say that Antelope Valley – Lancaster, Palmdale and Quartz Hill – supports Trayvon and his death will not be in vein,” said Fields.
For many more pictures of this event, visit our facebook page.