ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - They gathered on the steps of St. Louis CIty Hall, some carrying Skittles, many wearing hoodies — just like 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was on the night he was gunned down in Florida, allegedly by a neighborhood watch captain.
Pamela Wood, a professor at Forest Park Community College, wore her Black Panther hat.
“This (protesting) is in my DNA,” she said. “My parents were active in the Jefferson Bank demonstration and they raised us to have consciences.”
She said Trayvon Martin’s death underscores fears that parents in St. Louis and across the nation have every night when their child leaves the house — will he/she come back alive?
But isn’t that a concern for everyone, regardless of race, financial situation, or where they live?
“No..NO!” she answered sharply. “Don’t believe that. Black parents go through this. You have to instruct (your children) how to act and not to run in certain neighborhoods, because they would be looked at. If a white young man’s running down the street, he’s running track, keeping fit.”
Speaking to the crowd before they marched down Market Street was Raymond Webber, a St. Louis native and Arkansas-Pine Bluff grad who’s now a receiver for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He said the scariest thing about the Trayvon Martin incident was it’s sheer randomness.
“I could have been Trayvon Martin,” he explained. “I could’ve walked to the corner store one day, and I wouldn’t be standing here as Raymond Webber of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Y’all would be standing here with ‘Rest in peace, Raymond Webber’ pictures.”
Indeed, Webber was wearing a black hoodie with “R.I.P. Trayvon Martin” written across the front, as was his cousin Roland Page, better known as St. Louis-based rapper Yung Ro.
“Some of you may know, two years ago I was grazed in the head by a bullet,” Ro told those gathered at City Hall. “I was a victim of violence. Now I have little brothers that are growing up in this city. Eventually I’m going to have kids and I want to be able to raise them in this city.”
One of the co-organizers of the St. Louis march was Board of Aldermen president Lewis Reed.
“The killing of Trayvon Martin was a senseless tragedy,” he said. “The fact that injustices such as this still occur in 2012 means we still have a lot of work to do as a nation. We must also begin to match the intensity of this national response with the response to murders that occur in our own community almost every day.”
Protestors called on law enforcement officials in Florida to arrest alleged shooter George Zimmerman and charge him in Trayvon Martin’s death.