Parents of slain Florida teen speak at New York rally

Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:47pm EDT
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By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Trayvon Martin's mother on Wednesday told hundreds of protesters demanding an arrest in the shooting death of the unarmed Florida teen by a neighborhood watch captain that "this is not about a black and white thing. This is about a wrong and right thing."

Sybrina Fulton spoke to demonstrators at what organizers called "A Million Hoodies March" at a New York park about her son's slaying last month by watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the gated community of Sanford, Florida. Martin was wearing a hoodie at the time of his death.

"Our son is your son," Fulton told the crowd that waved signs decorated with Skittles, the candy the 17-year-old African American was carrying back from a convenience store when he was followed by Zimmerman, 28, who carried a gun.

"This is not about a black and white thing. This is about a wrong and right thing," said Fulton, her voice quivering with emotion.

Chants of "Prosecute Zimmerman! Prosecute Zimmerman!" suddenly fell silent as Trayvon's father, Tracy Martin, spoke to kick off the march to another park less than a mile away.

"Zimmerman took Trayvon's life profiling him. My son did not deserve to die," Tracy Martin said. "There is nothing we can say to bring him back but I'm here to ensure that justice is served so that no parents have to go through this again."

The incident has drawn national attention and sparked debate over Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law since Zimmerman has claimed self-defense in the fatal shooting. The police have thus far declined to arrest him.

One demonstrator, Shawn Smith, 32, listened to the speeches with his daughter, 8, son, 9, and nephew, 10, who held signs decorated with Martin's photograph and glued-on Skittles in the shape of a sad face.   Continued...

Tracy Martin (R) and Sybrina Fulton, the parents of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin who was shot dead by a neighborhood watch captain in Florida, arrive to join thousands taking part in a protest called A Million Hoodies March in New York's Union Square March 21, 2012. REUTERS/Adrees Latif