DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Community members rallied for justice for a 17-year-old at an event Saturday set up by 17-year-olds. The group of more than 100 joined rallies across the nation in support of an arrest in the shooting death of a Florida teenager.
On the steps in front of Dallas city hall, participants shouted “no justice, no peace.”
They held pictures of Trayvon Martin, the boy killed in Sanford, FL. The man who shot Martin, George Zimmerman, has not been arrested because police say a broad self-defense lawapplies in the case.
Students from Townview Magnet Center school in Dallas said they started looking last week for a local rally they could attend. When they couldn’t find one to fit their school schedule, they simply decided to put together their own.
“I didn’t see why, just go ahead and do it, and they were willing to help me,” said teacher Jessica Guilbeaux.
She brought up the Martin case in class last week. She said students identified once they saw a picture of Martin and decided he looked just like any one of them. “It really scared them and they wanted to do something about it beyond just Tweeting about it or Facebooking about it,” she said.
It was emotional for students like James Spears, who started to choke up at the thought of something similar happening to his younger nephew. “When this is over I can go home to Reginald and I can give him a hug and I can say I loved him once more,” he said. “But Zimmerman stripped that, from the Martin family.”
Student Gabriel Martin said he never expected to find himself organizing or even attending a political event. The case has had students doing unexpected things.
Guilbeaux said they started looking up the Florida stand-your-ground law and comparing it to laws in Texas. On Saturday, students were collecting signatures on a petition urging local legislators not to overturn, but at least reconsider some Texas gun laws.
“The laws govern the way we live our lives accordingly, so if we’re going to make any changes we have to become one, unite, and then see what we can do.”
More rallies are planned in North Texas next week including at UT Arlington and UNT in Denton.