MIAMI (CBSMiami) – His death saddened a nation and sparked a wide ranging conversation about race relations in the U.S.
Tuesday marked the one year anniversary of the shooting death of 17-year old Trayvon Martin by Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman.
His parents led a so-called “Million Hoodie March” in memory of their son Tuesday night in New York City’s Union Square.
“Thank you for your support tonight. We wear our hoodies in remembrance of Trayvon Martin,” Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, said.
Fulton and Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, were among hundreds gathered clad in hoodies for the event.
A similar vigil, on a smaller scale, was held in Sanford, the city where Trayvon died.
Martin was shot and killed when he and Zimmerman got into a scuffle at a Sanford townhouse complex. Zimmerman claims he acted in self-defense and has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.
Civil rights leaders said that if Martin had been white, Zimmerman would have been arrested the night of the shooting.
In the weeks after the shooting, thousands of people stage rallies demanding Zimmerman’s arrest. T-shirts and posters of Martin sold rapidly. Sanford’s police chief lost his job.
“We’ve always wished for an arrest, trial, let the jury decide, accept it. We may not like it but we are going to accept it,” said Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton.
In South Florida, the University of Miami’s USpeak Open Verse and Short Story Performance Series, along with the United Black Students, marked the anniversary with a special program and reading by distinguished author Quraysh Ali Lansana.
“We’re here with them. We support them,” sophomore Kamari Durley said. “That’s why we’re all out here. Because we support the cause. We want to remember his death. We want to let everyone know that is not ok.”
Zimmerman’s trial has been set for June.
On the anniversary, his attorney Mark O’Mara emphasized that his client is not racist.
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to a second degree murder charge.
An immunity hearing is planned for April in which the judge can decide whether to dismiss the case under Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law.
No matter the outcome of the case, Sybrina Fulton said she will accept it knowing she fought for justice in her son’s name.
“Trayvon is in Heaven and this we know his is resting,” Fulton said. “He is in God’s hands.”
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