Columbia-area community leaders are organizing a rally Saturday at the State House for slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
The rally, which starts at 10 a.m., will be moderated by Columbia radio personality Cynthia Hardy. State House Rep. Leon Howard and Richland County Councilman Norman Jackson are among those scheduled to speak. The rally will be followed by a march to the federal courthouse downtown along Richland Street, where participants will gather for a vigil.
The event is one of many planned for Saturday, after the Rev. Al Sharpton called for vigils in 100 cities nationwide following the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Martin.. The Rev. Michael Baker of Sharpton’s National Action Network also is scheduled to make an appearance at Columbia’s event.
Organizers say the rally and march will be a nonviolent demonstration to show support for Martin’s family and address injustice in the community.
“This is not a black or white issue; this is a right or wrong issue,” said Chris Sullivan, the event’s lead organizer and keynote speaker.
Participants are asked to wear hoodies like the one Martin was wearing when he was shot. Organizers say they will collect canned goods for the homeless and school supplies as a show of community solidarity.
There also will be a petition to sign calling for the U.S. Department of Justice to take action in the Zimmerman case.
Organizers are hoping for 10,000 participants at Saturday’s rally. Organizers say a rally held at Columbia’s Finlay Park for Trayvon in March 2012 drew 2,500 people.
As of Thursday afternoon, according to event organizers, more than 600 people had RSVP’d on the rally’s Facebook page that they would attend Saturday’s event.