A large group rallied at Love Park on Monday, March 26 for the “Brotherly Love Candlelight Vigil” in honor of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
Word spread quickly on the vigil held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Center City at 15th and John F. Kennedy Blvd.
Techbook Online Corporation (TBO, Inc.), an Internet multi-media publishing group, crafted the event in an effort to rally with the community to fight for justice for Martin.
On Feb. 26, Martin, 17, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, 28, who claims he shot in self-defense and has not been arrested. There has also been an emphasis on race in the shooting – Martin is Black; Zimmerman is not.
The evening kicked off with a musical selection of “Amazing Grace” played on the saxophone. TBO, Inc. organized eight speakers to share insight on the Martin case and Power 99’s “Cappuchino” was the emcee.
Of those speakers, Pastor Keon A. Gerow spoke first and posed a question to the crowd comparing Michael Vick’s case to Martin’s, asking why “Zimmerman is not arrested for killing a human being?”
Gerow was pleased to be at the vigil and represent for his church.
“It’s my belief that Trayvon Martin is just one of many African-American men who have fallen tragically to racism in this country,” he said.
The speakers consisting of attorney Michael Coard, the Rev. Micah Sims, Mothers in Charge representatives and other business leaders, poets and activists, each shared the common belief that Zimmerman should be arrested and there is a need for everyone to be politically aware and active. In a call and response chant, “no justice…no peace!” the crowd was lively in their hoodies, with posters and pictures of Trayvon.
Sharisse Davis decided to attend the vigil as soon as she caught wind of the event.
“I’m actually glad that they did this for him because I think what happened to Trayvon Martin was a great injustice to our people as well as everyone around the world,” she said.
One of the speakers, Jay Moodie, expressed to the crowd “You see how frustrated we got about what happened to Trayvon Martin—that’s how frustrated we have to get about what’s going on in this city.”
Manwell Glenn, speaker, encouraged the crowd to vote, stay in tune with politics and to “hoodie up for Trayvon,” as he pulled his hoodie over his head.
Christopher Norris, CEO of TBO Inc., called for a moment of silence for Martin. The crowd lit their candles, put on their hoodies and Norris poured iced tea on the ground in honor of Martin.
“This was really incredible and we just hope we keep the momentum going,” Norris said.
TBO Inc. plans to build a coalition with the speakers to leverage a series of events to raise political awareness and encourage African-American diversity in the newsroom.
The speakers, organizers and other participants ended the night marching to the city’s police department.