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Justice For Trayvon Day in St. Louis

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Hundreds turned out on Saturday July 20, 2013 near the federal courthouse in downtown St. Louis for a rally on behalf of slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin (KMOX/Brad Choat)

Hundreds turned out on Saturday July 20, 2013 near the federal courthouse in downtown St. Louis for a rally on behalf of slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin (KMOX/Brad Choat)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - At the urging of the Rev. Al Sharpton, “Justice For Trayvon Martin” rallies were held in 100 cities across the nation, Saturday, including St. Louis.

Hundreds gathered outside the Eagleton Federal Courthouse downtown, during the noon hour, to hear speakers call for federal civil rights charges against the man who shot and killed Martin in Florida.

One of the local organizers, Dr. James Coleman Jr., said St. Louisans need to raise their voices, “Get some back in your bone. Open up your mouths and shout truth to power for Trayvon, for Tracy & Sabrina (Martin’s parents), and for the countless other victims, so that our children will not grow up unprotected in the United States of America.

An 18-year-old in the audience named “Mikeith” said he felt it was important for young black males like himself to attend the rally and speak out, “We are all the same, all Americans. We all came from the same place. Skin color shouldn’t matter anymore. It’s 2013. We’re not in the 1900’s anymore.”

The mother of a 22-year-old black male, Stephanie Williams of St. Louis, said she remembers her son making a disturbing remark when he was just two-years-old, “He told me he was born to go to prison. I asked him why. He said all black men go to prison. Since he had that mentality, I’ve worked hard to put him in a positive environment.”

Williams said her son is now a college graduate and doing well.

A rally was planned later Saturday outside the federal courthouse in East St. Louis, as well as a community action event at a location on Cherokee Street in St. Louis.

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