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The Post  
Thousands of Philadelphians Join 'Million Hoodie March'; Obama calls it a "tragedy"
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 03/23/12 9:15 pm | updated: 03/23/12 10:12 pm
Several thousand people marched in Philly from 30th Street Station to Love Park tonight as part of a Philadelphia segment of the "Million Hoodie March." The march's intent was to show support for Trayvon Martin, an African American teenager who was shot-to-death last month while walking home by a neighborhood watch volunteer in his Florida town, and also to bring awareness of the perceived injustice in the case. The watch volunteer has not been charged citing "self-defense".

The march started at 7:17 pm and proceeded down JFK Boulevard. People chanted: "Do I look suspicious? I am Trayvon Martin." Many participants wore hoodies, or hooded sweatshirts, in support of Martin who was wearing on at the time. Police estimates say about 2500 started the march, but by the time it had finished they say the totals were more like 5000-8500. Even Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams was seen participating under his hood.

Philadelphia joins other cities including New York and Miami who also have staged their own marches.

The incident in question refers back to last month when Trayvon Martin, 17, was walking back to his gated community after purchasing some candy at a 7-11. He was wearing a hoodie and it was dark. George Zimmerman, a neighbor watch volunteer, saw Martin and thought he looked suspicious and began following him. Zimmerman called police dispatchers who instructed him to stop following Martin. Zimmerman continued to follow the teenager anyway and confronted him. Martin was unarmed, however, Zimmerman shot and killed him. He claimed self-defense and was released with no charges.

This whole thing could easily be made about race, but it could be about how much fear there is or people with similar mindsets, but what most people involved in the march tonight are concerned about is justice.

"This is not just for blacks," Andre McEachin, 52, of North Philadelphia. "If someone doesn't like you because you have a hoodie on, it could be you. Justice and equality, that's the American dream. Doesn't say anything about what color you are."

"We're trying to bring awareness about the injustice that's going on in Florida, the streets of Philly, and other cities in America," said Jason Moody, 32, of the #OnTheCornerstone(d), a community-organizing group that put together the march. Moody maintained that "the march is not a race thing. It's about injustice - everyone goes through that."

Carmena Ayo-Davies, 28, who helped Moody stage the march, said "It's time to put our hoodies and sneakers on and come together for a very good cause. All walks of life are standing with us. This is open to all - not just African Americans and minorities."

President Obama spoke today for the first time about the whole incident, being careful as not to influence the investigation or Justice Department's involvement. He called the situation a "tragedy" and that the nation needs to do some "soul searching." He also got very personal saying, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon...I can only imagine what his parents are going through," said Obama "When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids."

There will also be a rally on Monday, March 26 at 6:30 pm in Love Park. Organizers are asking that supporers show up wearing hoodies as a show of support for Trayvon.

Martin // Zimmerman

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