About 100 Capitol Hill staffers donned hoodies and held Skittles Friday in solidarity with the unarmed teen shot to death by a neighborhood watch captain in Florida last month.
“We join here not only to unify but out of respect, respect not only for life, but for each of our differences,” said Waikinya Clanton, president of the Congressional Black Alliance. “What was Trayvon’s life has now become our movement.”
Trayvon Martin was shot to death in an encounter with George Zimmerman, a self-delegated neighborhood watch captain in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., where 17-year-old Trayvon’s father lived. Zimmerman allegedly saw Trayvon as an intruder in the neighborhood.
“The death of Trayvon diminishes us,” U.S. Senate Chaplain the Rev. Barry Black said Friday.
Black recalled a similar incident years ago when he was a Navy commander. He was walking through a San Diego neighborhood where he lived out of uniform when he was stopped and searched by police after complaints “that a suspicious person was walking in the neighborhood and they thought maybe he might be casing homes, and so that was the reason why I was being frisked without being asked for any kind of identification or anything.”
The Capitol Hill rally drew attendance from Republicans, Democrats, Christians, Muslims, African-Americans and Hispanics – all calling for a thorough investigation into Trayvon's death.
A vigil in Anacostia Friday evening emphasized spiritual support for Trayvon’s family.
“One of the things that we should concentrate on at this particular moment in time is the consolation of the family,” said Salim Adofo, of the National Black United Front.
His group will concentrate on the legal side of the issue next week at the Department of Justice.