MUNCIE — Large crowds are turning out for marches and rallies across Indiana this week to deplore the killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, including a march in downtown Indianapolis that drew at least 2,000 people.
During the latest march, people marched through South Bend on Thursday night wearing hooded sweatshirts to honor the teen, who some supporters say was a victim of racial profiling. Martin was wearing a hoodie when he was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer last month. Martin was walking home from a convenience store at the time.
Marchers carried signs that read, "Justice for Trayvon," and chanted as they marched to the Martin Luther King Center where speakers addressed the crowd, WNDU-TV reported.
"This community has been talking about, it what it means not just in Florida, but right here," Civil Rights Heritage Center director Kevin Lamarr James said.
"This speaks to the people's desire to see justice done," James added. "We begin to question, 'What if that was my son? What if that was me?'"
On Wednesday, about 250 people took part in a 1-mile march between two Muncie parks, with many wearing hooded sweatshirts.
"Something like what happened to Trayvon is a parent's worst nightmare," Muncie marcher Donna Hunt of Farmland told The Star Press. "And it has nothing to do with race. There's right and wrong, and this was just wrong."
Along the route, residents stood on their porches cheering on marchers, holding their own signs and passing out water to walkers. The crowd grew as residents joined the marchers in chants of "No justice, no peace."
The neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, has said he shot the 17-year-old Martin on Feb. 26 in self-defense. Martin's family claims racial profiling was behind the killing, which has become a national racial flashpoint. Martin was black. Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is Hispanic.
Another march Wednesday evening through Purdue University's West Lafayette campus attracted a couple hundred people in a procession that stretched four campus blocks, the Journal & Courier reported.
Many people donned dark hoodies and some held signs saying "I am Trayvon Martin" and "Justice for Trayvon."
Rally participant Mollie Kimbrough of Lafayette said she took comfort in seeing so many others that felt the way she did about Martin's death.
"He was robbed of his life and his youth," Kimbrough said. "As a nation and even as a community here in Lafayette, we should all pull together and fight for him for justice to be served."