JERSEY CITY - The National Community Action Alliance, in conjunction with the House of the Lord Church in Jersey City, will sponsor a community rally and March this Thursday at 5 p.m. to demand justice for Trayvon Martin.
Other community organizations and Jersey City residents are expected to participate in the march.
Martin, 17, was shot and killed last month in Sanford, Fla., after a trip to a local convenience store to buy Skittles and iced tea. The shooter, George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, said he became suspicious of Martin, who was African American, because he was wearing a "hoodie"
sweatshirt. Zimmerman called 911 and pursued the teen, even after the emergency dispatcher told him to remain in his car.
Zimmerman, who is Latino, followed Martin and shot him with a 9-millimeter handgun.
Across the country there have been several protests and "million hoodie"
marches to demand that charges be brought against the shooter. Although local authorities and the U.S. Justice Department are investigating the shooting, it is unlikely Zimmerman broke any laws. In 2005, Florida became the first state to pass a so-called "stand your ground" law, which allows a person to use force, including deadly force if they feel they believe their safety or life is threatened.
Opponents of such laws have called them "shoot now, ask questions later."
But supporters of such laws and gun rights advocates argue that such laws have allowed would-be victims to protect themselves from imminent danger.
According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, 20 states currently have "stand your ground" laws on the books.
The Martin case, however, has led to charges of institutional racism since the unarmed teen was initially deemed as suspicious since he was a black male youth dressed in popular urban attire.
Zimmerman has not been arrested or charged with a crime and some legal experts believe prosecution in the case is unlikely. But the case may add new scrutiny to "stand your ground" laws.
Civil rights activist Herbert Daughtry, head pastor of the House of the Lord Church, will lead Thursday's the rally and march.
"This case is outrageous and we will join millions of outraged supporters across the world to demand justice for Trayvon," said Rev. Daughtry. "Mr.
Zimmerman has convicted himself out of his own mouth. Any fear-minded, rational person knows that one does not pursue the person one is afraid of.
To this end, the National Community Action Alliance, The House of the Lord Church, community organizations, and residents will show our support for Trayvon through a peaceful march and rally."
The march will begin at 5 p.m. at the House of the Lord Church at 427 Martin Luther King Dr., at the corner of Forrest Street in Jersey City. The march will be followed by a rally at 6 p.m. at the Hub.
March participants are asked to wear hoodie sweatshirts. - E. Assata Wright