It was a cold February evening and, though their numbers were modest, several young New Yorkers made the pilgrimage to Times Square to mark the second anniversary of the death of Trayvon Martin and to lament the death of Jordan Davis.
“I think young people have the responsibility to take to the streets because racism is still here in the United States and we need to raise our voices against it,” said Claudia Mendoza, a junior majoring in political science and Latin studies at John Jay College, speaking with BET.com.
“We need to stand up for Trayvon and for Jordan,” she said. “The death of Jordan Davis came right after Trayvon and too much of this is happening."
She said she felt compelled to attend the Wednesday evening rally in the heart of Manhattan. She expressed a sense of disappointment that there were roughly 50 participants in the event, which took place in cold weather.
“I wish more people — young people — had come out here,” she said. “I would like to see more people to take a stand because this is something that affects all of us.”
The participants donned hoodies, which was intended to show solidarity with Trayvon Martin, who was killed as he walked unarmed in a gated community wearing a hooded sweatshirt and carrying a can of iced tea and a bag of candy.
There was a moment of silence when the organizers poured a libation of iced tea and soft drinks onto the pavement of Times Square in a memorial to Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis.
“I’m 17 years old just like Trayvon was and Jordan was,” said Jaquan Harris, a senior at Fannie Lou Hamer High School in the Bronx, speaking with BET.com. “I feel that it’s important to show solidarity.”
Harris said he was furious about George Zimmerman being found not guilty in the death of Trayvon Martin, adding that he was equally incensed about Michael Dunn being convicted of attempted murder but not found guilty in the death of Jordan Davis.
“There are no words to describe how I felt about these two situations,” he said. “It’s like a punch in the gut. And that’s why I felt I had to be here.”
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