Reporting Lauren Pastrana
NORTH MIAMI (CBS4) – As Miami prepares for a major rally in honor of Trayvon Martin Saturday, members of the Hatian-American Community in North Miami gathered for an intimate but vocal demonstration Friday evening.
The crowd congregated in front of the Veterans Memorial at Griffing Park chanting for justice.
At one point people were shouting, “Hey, hey, DOJ! Pick up the case now.”
The message was an appeal to the Department of Justice to investigate the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman as a violation of Trayvon’s civil rights.
Many are disappointed in the jury’s verdict to acquit Zimmerman of second degree and murder in the unarmed teen’s death.
“This is important so it doesn’t happen to us,” Lekel St. Fleurose, Jr. said “We want justice!”
The event organizer, Dr. Smith Joseph, said he sees himself as Trayvon Martin.
“It is a time that we all have to start looking at each other at the very same level,” Dr. Joseph told CBS 4′s Lauren Pastrana. “Whether you black, white, hispanic. We are all one.”
For some parents, the emotionally charged issue is personal.
“I have kids the same age,” Samson Candio said. “I could be in that situation.”
Sheilla St. Fleureose brought her son to the rally.
“For my son, for me to think, it’s not fair to him,” she said. “That is scary to me.”
Organizers from the Haitian American community brought signs and bullhorns to get their message across, at times appealing to people not just in English, but in Spanish and Creole.
The overwhelming desire among the protestors was for Florida to repeal or amend its “Stand Your Ground” law.
Earlier Friday, President Barack Obama called on the state to take a closer look at the controversial measure.
“I just ask people to consider that if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk,” the President asked.
Governor Rick Scott responded Friday by saying he had no plans to change the law. Instead he asked Floridians to participate in a day of prayer.
Trayvon Martin’s uncle, Ronal Fulton, attended the rally Friday.
He said has been praying and will continue to do so, but said now is the time for change.
He was touched by the President’s words.
Fulton called Mr. Obama’s impromptu briefing “remarkable.”
“It’s tremendous to know that we have people who are not just letting it go. I’m truly thankful,” Fulton told Pastrana.
A larger crowd is expected at the federal courthouse in Downtown Miami Saturday morning.
The gathering is part of the “100 City Rally” organized by Rev. Al Sharpton.
The event in Miami is planned for 10 a.m. in front of the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. United States Courthouse.