FLORENCE, KY (FOX19) - Outrage over the death of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager shot and killed by a neighborhood watch captain in a gated Florida community last month, is spreading to the Tri-State.
Martin, 17, was shot dead Feb. 26 after 28-year-old George Zimmerman, a white/Hispanic man, called 911 and reported Martin to dispatchers as "suspicious." Despite being told by emergency workers not to pursue Martin, Zimmerman followed the teen, who had been walking home from a convenience store. Martin carried only a bag of Skittles candy and a can of iced tea. Nonetheless, Zimmerman confronted the teen and within moments Martin was dead.
Marches and protests have sprung up around the country, because under Florida law, Zimmerman has not been charged, claiming he fired in self-defense. Now, as an investigation by state and federal authorities is underway, people across the country are taking up Martin's cause.
Cincinnati's march stepped off from the Cincinnati Library on Vine Street and quickly grew to nearly two thousand people on Fountain Square. Organizers are calling it a peaceful march to raise awareness of the case.
Attendees were asked to wear hoodies as a symbol of unity and because Martin was wearing a hoodie when he died.
"I think that is unfortunate just because you have a hoodie on does not mean you are going to commit a criminal act," says Andrea Matthews.
"We wear the hood but we got to get back to the neighborhood so the hood is just a part of it. Most people say they live in the 'hood but we got to get back to the neighborhood in the community," says Coach Nadir.
Sunday, at the Florence church Grace of God Ministries, Bishop Nerrick Jackson sweated as he preached in a brown hoodie. He implored his members to work against hate, and to, "put the neighbor back in the hood."
The hoodie movement spread via social media, and Sunday morning, both young and old alike were wearing hoodies at Grace of God Ministries, and many other houses of worship, to show solidarity as Martin's family in Florida pushes for justice in his death.
"Just as Jesus is real, I'm here to tell you today that hate is still real," said Bishop Jackson.
Jackson preached that racism is only erased when people get to know each other. An idea, he says, that may have saved Trayvon Martin's life last month, if George Zimmerman had not acted on suspicion.