This was the second Trayvon Walk Out Event Anniston has seen this week, with the other occurring Sunday.
Some wore hoodies. Others wore shirts with Trayvon’s name in glitter sequins across their chests. A little girl held up a white sign with the words, “I am Trayvon Martin.”
When event organizer Kumira Mason asked members of the crowd to add their names to a petition asking the U.S. Department of Justice to open a civil rights case against George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin, one man hollered out, “Where can I sign?”
“I wanted to do something for young people in our community so they don’t end up in the same predicament,” Mason said when asked about the inspiration behind the event. “It always brings back memories of Heath.”
Thomas “DJ Jay-Wheezy” Heath has been using a wheelchair to get around for more than nine years. Heath was shot five times and is paralyzed from the chest down.
Heath said he later discovered the shooter was a white supremacist who was racially profiling him, so what happened to Trayvon hits close to home.
“November will be 10 years since I was shot sitting in the car at the gas station,” he said.
Heath provided music Tuesday and during a Walk Out event at the park on Sunday.
“We had such a good turnout we wanted to do another,” Mason said.
Pastor Eugene Leonard, 33, said he really wished the verdict in the trial had been different. He said the people in attendance weren’t just marching for Trayvon – they were marching for victims of violent crime everywhere.
“Hopefully it will bring peace to the parents of Trayvon,” Leonard said. “We’re praying for them.”
Dave Baker, the president of the Anniston-Calhoun County NAACP, said he was happy to see the turnout at the event because the bullet that ended Trayvon’s life is the same type of bullet that ends other people’s lives.
“The only way we can stop this senseless killing is to turn to each other instead of against one another,” he said.
Shajuan Davis, 31, of Oxford agreed.
“I hope that by us coming out here that his family will know they have support here and everywhere,” she said.
The evening began with a prayer for Trayvon, Trayvon’s parents and for George Zimmerman.
Afterward came an explanation of the Stand Your Ground law by attorney, Darenda Miller.
“Stand Your Ground is basically a defense for justifiable homicide,” Miller said.
Though the event officially began at 6 p.m., participants didn’t begin their walk until 7:09 p.m., the exact time Trayvon had been walking home, Mason said.
“We will walk peacefully, like Trayvon had been walking,” Mason said prior to the walk.
Supporters were encouraged to bring hoodies, bags of Skittles and Arizona iced tea with them — the items Trayvon had at the time he was shot.
Supporters of Trayvon walked around the park one time before joining together to form the shape of Trayvon’s initials.
Though the event was a success, Leonard said he was sad to see that there were no white faces in the crowd.
“I’d like to do another one to embrace our community. This is a time when we need to bring out unity between both races and bring us all together in our march,” he said.
Staff writer Madasyn Czebiniak: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @MCzebiniak_Star.