Hundreds attended a march, a rally and a candlelight vigil held in Kansas City on Monday in the memory of slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin. Victims of violence were also remembered.
It began as a march at Linwood and Benton boulevards and ended at the Freedom Fountain at 47th Street and Cleveland Avenue. Social media helped swell the crowd.
Qualin Atty wanted to bring people together at a time when many are hurting or angry because a six-member jury acquitted George Zimmerman in Martin's death. He said others are hurting because violence has scarred their lives.
"What better way to express that than come together without being violent," Atty said.
He said too many families in the area are hurting and don't have justice "or any answers at all."
He said he wants to bring attention to all senseless crimes, not just a notorious one in central Florida.
"The fact that you can take a life and not face any consequences about it," he said. "I don't care if he was 14, 17, 18 or 30, there still should be a consequence."
Pat Clarke, a community outreach specialist with the Kansas City Police Department, helped organize the rally. He said he would like to see the same level of passion after the Zimmerman verdict directed at solving the problems facing Kansas City.
"We had 15 murders in the last week. That's what this is about: awareness. If we are going to rally, let's rally for Kansas City," Clarke said.
He knows Monday's events won't put an end to violence, but will be part of a start to turn the tide.
"I'd like to see our murder rate stay at 59, but the chances of that are slim to none. So we've just got to keep praying and waking up and saying to the next person, 'Hey, we have got to do better today,'" Clarke said.
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Tuesday, September 2 2014 11:12 PM EDT2014-09-03 03:12:05 GMT
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