Bearing Skittles and wearing hoodies, more than 100 people gathered outside Bakersfield City Hall Wednesday calling for justice for Trayvon Martin.
For 14-year-old Whitney Rios, who led the march from the GET Bus downtown transit center to city hall, justice means incarceration for George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot Martin during a confrontation with the teen. Details of what exactly happened are still emerging; Zimmerman told police he acted in self-defense.
The Florida teen's death and the lack of charges against Zimmerman last month triggered a wave of outrage. Rios planned the march in less than a week with help from her sister to show support for Martin's family and give an outlet to the local response.
"It's just nice to see everybody come out as a community and come together and take a stand for something we all believe in," Rios said. "I believe one day, if it's not today, tomorrow, next month Trayvon Martin, he will get justice."
The crowd chanted, "We are Trayvon" and "No justice, no peace," as they marched. Gathering on the corner of Chester and Truxtun avenues, people took turns with a megaphone calling Martin's death a tragedy and asking the crowd to stand together against injustice.
Ryan Bell said the issue goes beyond black and white to "wrong and right," and said Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law is wrong.
"We're here talking about justice. This is more than color," Bell said.
Others told the crowd to remain vigilant about local issues as well and register to vote so they have power. Rios' sister Jaime Dock declared, "If I wanna rock my hoodie." and the crowd answered with a loud "I can."
Rosalind Woods was glad there was a local event to express support for Martin's family. She said she didn't have words to describe how sad she felt when she heard of Martin's death. She thought of her own 11-year-old son and the pain Martin's mother must feel.
"After everything (with the case) is done, her son is still gone," Woods said. During the march, Woods held a sign decorated with glitter and hearts that read, "Could have been my son."