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Trayvon Martin Hometown Rally: Thousands Gather In Miami With Frederica Wilson, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton (PHOTOS)

By CHRISTINE ARMARIO 04/ 1/12 09:24 PM ET AP

MIAMI -- Political leaders, sport stars and entertainers were among several thousand people who gathered Sunday at a Miami rally to call for an arrest in the fatal shooting of an unarmed Florida teenager by a neighborhood watch volunteer.

The rally in 17-year-old Trayvon Martin's hometown was one of the largest yet and drew basketball stars Alonzo Mourning and Isaiah Thomas, singers Chaka Khan and Betty Wright, politicians and civil rights leaders.

Martin's father, speaking briefly, promised the crowd he would not stop fighting "for my Trayvon and for your Trayvon."

"Each and every one of us feels the pain of this family simply because Trayvon Martin could have been one of all of us," said Mourning, the former Miami Heat player.

The rally came a day after thousands marched through Sanford, the central Florida town where 28-year-old George Zimmerman shot and killed Martin in February. Martin was walking back from a convenience store, where he had gone to buy candy and iced tea, when he and Zimmerman got into an altercation. Zimmerman says he was attacked and has claimed self-defense; Martin's family disputes his version of events.

They point to 911 calls, a surveillance video of Zimmerman from shortly after the fatal shooting, and other records that they say prove Martin was not the aggressor. Zimmerman has not been arrested, though state and federal authorities are investigating.

The case has led to protests across the nation and spurred a debate about race and the laws of self-defense. Martin was black; Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is Hispanic.

Speaking at the rally Sunday, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said the case was about ending all types of racial profiling – not just in criminal cases, but by banks, insurance companies and in the job market.

"End profiling now," the civil rights activist said to applause.

Jackson also said Martin's case illustrated the high number of black students who are suspended from school. A report issued by the U.S. Department of Education last month found that black students are more than three times as likely as their white peers to be suspended or expelled. Martin had been suspended from school for having a baggie that contained marijuana residue shortly before he was killed.

"We must stop suspending our children," Jackson said, asking the crowd to repeat: "Invest in them. Educate them."

Many of the people who gathered at the bayside park on a sunny afternoon wore T-shirts with Martin's image and the words "Justice for Trayvon." Others wore buttons that said, "Do I look suspicious?" One man had a Mohawk with an image of Trayvon Martin painted on one side. A marching band from a high school that the teen attended danced, sang and beat drums.

Numerous supporters came dressed in hooded sweat shirts like the one Martin was wearing when he died.

Among them: Mourning's 15-year-old son, Trey.

"It could have been me," Trey Mourning told the crowd.

Grammy winner Chaka Khan said Martin's death had affected her. "The message I bring to you today is fear kills and love heals," she said.

Martin's death occurred more than a month ago, but absent an arrest, his family and others vowed to continue holding protests. Rep. Frederica Wilson organized the rally in Miami, and an attorney for Martin's parents said demonstrations are being planned for in the coming weeks in cities including Los Angeles and Chicago.

The Rev. Al Sharpton led the crowd in circulating buckets to collect contributions that he said would help pay for the Martins' legal fees and travel.

"This is not a fit," Sharpton said. "This is a movement."

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  • Miami Rally To Honor Trayvon Martin

    MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: Mohawk Gaz wears a picture of Trayvon Martin in his hair as he and other supporters gather for a rally in his honor at the Bayfront Amphitheater on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Martin was killed by George Michael Zimmerman who was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: Tamarii Cummings and his mother Patricia Cummings, who are related to Trayvon Martin, pray along with other supporters as they gather during a rally in Trayvon's honor at the Bayfront Amphitheater on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Martin was killed by George Michael Zimmerman who was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • Clifford Combry holds his daughter, Harmony, on his shoulders as thousands gather for a rally demanding justice for Trayvon Martin in downtown Miami, Sunday, April 1, 2012. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

  • Briona Jones and Sara Smith, right, comfort each other as thousands gathered in downtown Miami, Sunday, April 1, 2012, demanding justice for Trayvon Martin during a rally that featured national civil rights leaders. The rally comes a day after thousands marched through Sanford, the Florida town where Martin, 17, was shot and killed in February. Protesters say they will continue holding marches and rallies until an arrest is made. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

  • Members of the audience hold signs of support as thousands gathered in downtown Miami, Sunday, April 1, 2012, demanding justice for Trayvon Martin during a rally that featured national civil rights leaders.The rally comes a day after thousands marched through Sanford, the Florida town where 17-year-old Martin was shot and killed in February. Protesters say they will continue holding marches and rallies until an arrest is made. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

  • MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: Rev. Al Sharpton speaks at a rally in honor of Trayvon Martin at the Bayfront Amphitheater on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Martin was killed by George Michael Zimmerman who was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: The parents of Trayvon Martin, Tracy Martin (L) and Sybrina Fulton (2nd R) stand with the Rev. Al Sharpton (C) and Rev. Jesse Jackson (far R) as they all attend a rally in his honor at the Bayfront Amphitheater on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Martin was killed by George Michael Zimmerman who was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: Singer, Chaka Khan (R), hugs Sybrina Fulton the mother of Trayvon Martin as they attend a rally in his honor at the Bayfront Amphitheater on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Martin was killed by George Michael Zimmerman who was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • Florida Political Leaders Hold Rally To Honor Trayvon Martin In Miami

    MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: With Rev. Al Sharpton (in gray suit) urging people to donate money a worker holds out a bucket for people to put money into as they attend a rally in honor of Trayvon Martin at the Bayfront Amphitheater on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Martin was killed by George Michael Zimmerman who was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: Trayvon Martin supporters gather for a rally in his honor at the Bayfront Amphitheater on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Martin was killed by George Michael Zimmerman who was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: Trayvon Martin supporters gather for a rally in his honor at the Bayfront Amphitheater on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Martin was killed by George Michael Zimmerman who was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: Emma Dagust and her daughter, Arielle Dagust, holds a sign as they and other Trayvon Martin supporters gather for a rally in his honor at the Bayfront Amphitheater on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Martin was killed by George Michael Zimmerman who was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: Trayvon Martin supporters gather for a rally in his honor at the Bayfront Amphitheater on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Martin was killed by George Michael Zimmerman who was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: Susana Diaz holds a sign as she and other Trayvon Martin supporters gather for a rally in his honor at the Bayfront Amphitheater on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Martin was killed by George Michael Zimmerman who was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: Jazmen Nelson and other Trayvon Martin supporters gather for a rally in his honor at the Bayfront Amphitheater on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Martin was killed by George Michael Zimmerman who was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: Emma Dagust and her daughter, Arielle Dagust, as they and other Trayvon Martin supporters gather for a rally in his honor at the Bayfront Amphitheater on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Martin was killed by George Michael Zimmerman who was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: Trayvon Martin supporters gather for a rally in his honor at the Bayfront Amphitheater on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Martin was killed by George Michael Zimmerman who was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: Audrey Paul holds a sign as she and Trayvon Martin supporters gather for a rally in his honor at the Bayfront Amphitheater on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Martin was killed by George Michael Zimmerman who was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: Trayvon Martin supporters gather for a rally in his honor at the Bayfront Amphitheater on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Martin was killed by George Michael Zimmerman who was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: Rev. Al Sharpton (L) sits with the parents of Trayvon Martin, Tracy Martin (C) and Sybrina Fulton (R) as they all attend a rally in honor of Trayvon at the Bayfront Amphitheater on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Martin was killed by George Michael Zimmerman who was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: Singer, Chaka Khan, attends a rally in honor of Trayvon Martin at the Bayfront Amphitheater on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Martin was killed by George Michael Zimmerman who was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: The parents of Trayvon Martin (L-R) Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton stand with the Rev. Jesse Jackson (C) as they all attend a rally in his honor at the Bayfront Amphitheater on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Martin was killed by George Michael Zimmerman who was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • '"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere"-MLK'

  • 'Yvette Grier brought her boys with signs and hoodies to the rally for #trayvonmartin'

  • 'Ends with balloon release and Rep Frederica Wilson saying, "we love you Trayvon."'

  • Diana Moskovitz

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Filed by Janie Campbell  |