Two downtown marches have been organized for Friday as a peaceful sign of support for the family of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed 17-year-old who was shot and killed last month in Florida.
Marchers are encouraged to wear their hoodies just like Martin wore when he was walking home from a convenience store and fatally shot on Feb. 26 by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, who has not been charged. Both marches are intended to be calm, civil and peaceful, organizers said.
The Justice for Trayvon march is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. by the bean in Millennium Park and head to State and Lake streets near the ABC News studios, said organizer Mikael Abdullah, 30, who grew up in East Chatham and now lives in Hammond, Ind.
"Growing up, I lost so many of my friends to gun violence and gangs and it just sickens me," he said. "It does not matter the color of the finger that pulls the trigger. It doesn't matter, it so wrong and we need to stop that. We are there and we support them and we support our children and we are tired of losing our children, it's nonsense."
He said he was inspired to organize a march, which on Thursday had about 100 RSVPs on Facebook, after he signed the family's online petition at change.org urging the State's Attorney in Florida to investigate and prosecute Zimmerman for the shooting death of Martin.
Another evening march at 7 p.m. Friday will begin at the ABC News studios at State and Lake streets to Millennium Park, said organizer Keinika Carlton, 29, customer service rep who lives in Hyde Park.
She said she created the Chicago Million Hoodie March in honor of Trayvon Martin to raise awareness to the injustice of the case and to pressure on the authorities to investigate the shooting.
"This young man was shot unlawfully and he shouldn't have been," Carlton said. "It's crazy for someone to be deemed suspicious because they're wearing a hoodie."
The march, in which 250 people on Facebook said Thursday they planned to attend, is merely a sign of unity, she said.
"That could be one of my children one day. I feel like we all need to stand up wherever we are," Carlton, mother of two girls ages 2 and 8, said.
"We are standing with them and we are in support of whatever they may need," she said. "It's heartbreaking I'm sure to that mother and father."
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