One week after George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the death of Miami Gardens teen Trayvon Martin, hundreds filled downtown Miami streets to rally for justice.
“Back in the 1970s there was a time when someone of my color couldn’t walk in North Miami Beach without a badge explaining why you were there,” one protestor told the Miami Herald. “This is 2013, and I guess things aren’t that different.”
Miami was just one of 101 U.S. cities that erupted in "Justice for Trayvon" rallies and vigils Saturday as organized by Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network.
In Miami, Trayvon's father Tracy Martin spoke to an emotional crowd outside a downtown federal courthouse.
"This could be any one of our children," he said. "Our mission now is to make sure that this doesn't happen to your child."
“I promised Trayvon, when he was laying in his casket, that I would use every ounce of energy in my body to seek justice for him,” he said. “I will continue to fight for Trayvon until the day I die.”
Local church leaders as well as Miami Dade Commissioner Jean Monestime and Congresswoman Frederica Wilson attended the Miami rally alongside South Florida residents.
"I'm here because our children can't even walk on the streets without fearing for their lives," Shantescia Hill, a 31-year-old mother, told the Associated Press. She held a sign that read: "Every person deserves a safe walk home."
"We wanted to show our support to the parents," Karline Raphael, 40, a teacher from Miami, said. "We're still living in a racial society. ... We see every day that we're still living in racially segregated areas."
Many donned signs and T-shirts paying tribute to Trayvon and calling for justice.
The Miami Herald spotted two demonstrators wearing tees with the phrase 'Creepy Ass Cracker,' in reference to how Trayvon referred to a lingering Zimmerman as the teen walked home on February 26, 2012 right before he was fatally shot.
The Miami 'Justice For Trayvon' rally next marched to the headquarters of Miami Police, a department which the U.S. Department of Justice recently found used excessive force in the death of seven black men, two of which were unarmed.
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