Vigil follows Philadelphia rallies calling for arrest of Florida teen’s killer

Philadelphians will hold a candlelight vigil Monday night to honor Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old African American killed in Florida by the captain of a neighborhood watch group.

Organizers say they’re rallying for the arrest of the shooter.

Police in Florida declined to prosecute shooter George Zimmerman, saying his actions could have been self-defense. Florida has a wide-reaching law preventing prosecution in cases involving self-defense.

“I can’t even lie to you, it’s so heartbreaking in the community,” says Christopher Norris of Philadelphia.

“You know a lot of us aren’t sleeping. A lot of us are having nightmares.”

An organizer behind the vigil and other events in Philadelphia, Norris says that, as an African American, he’s been watched and intimidated himself. But the shooting of the young teen, who was unarmed and walking back from a convenience store, defies belief.

“This was a kid that didn’t do anything. He didn’t deserve this, and now it looks like we are going to have to fight for justice on something that we deserve, that is so simple,” says Norris.

Norris led a march of hoodie-clad demonstrators in Philadelphia Friday night, following the lead of New York City protesters who staged the “1,000,000 hoodie march.”  Martin was wearing a hoodie when he was shot.

Martin’s parents plan to petition in April for the prosecution of the shooter. Norris says there are plans for more demonstrations in Philadelphia to show continuing support.

The candlelight vigil for Trayvon Martin will be held at Love Park in Philadelphia at 6:30 p.m., March 26, 2012.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.