MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) – Hundreds of people in downtown Memphis demanded justice in the deadly shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, in a prayer vigil held March 26 at the National Civil Rights Museum.
Martin was killed during what protesters say was a race-based confrontation with a Neighborhood Watch volunteer.
The gathering at the National Civil Rights Museum was large and peaceful, but everyone there had strong feelings about what happened.
“I’m speaking out for everybody who has a child like Trayvon,” said Lanorris Burnett, in attendance at the vigil, “there was no reason for a guy to follow him and chase him down and do him like that.”
There were multiple themes running throughout the large gathering at the museum; one was support.
“Support maybe, of his family and loved ones.” said Salome Jones.
Prayer was also a strong sentiment.
“I’m down here to pray for the vigil,” Quincy Newson told abc24.com, “I really think this is a great cause.”
But the overwhelming desire of virtually all present was justice.
“We need justice,” said Verdell Pegues, “I’m looking for justice. There are too many young brothers dying.”
“I want justice to be served and that is all,” Sadie Thomas told abc24.com.
Many in the large Memphis crowd believed social media like Facebook played a big role in Trayvon’s story resonating across the country.
“It played a big role, that’s how we’re communicating all over the world now,” Burnett said.
“Social media has put a great impact on this, you know,” Newson told abc24.com.
So, in this case, many feel social media is a galvanizing force for justice.
“It was such a hate crime that everybody all over the world feels the pain.” Burnett added.
That pain made its way to Memphis, dredging up old feelings in many attending the vigil.
“We care about civil rights,” said Jasmine Gilliams, “we want something to be done about what happened to Trayvon.”
“I’ve cried, my mother cried, my children cried,” said Burnett, “we’re just tired. We want it to stop.”