About 200 people rallied at South L.A.'s Leimert Park Thursday night, calling for the arrest of the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old black teenager in Florida. Some people wore hoodie sweatshirts similar to what Martin was wearing when he was shot.
The rally, organized by an well-known community member, drew a crowd of mostly parents, who said they rallied to show support for Martin's family.
"It just stuck a chord in my heart," said L.A. resident Paula Miller. "I just really felt for his mother and his family."
One woman held a sign that read, "Mothers 4 Trayvon." Hours before the rally, the Sanford police chief in Florida announced he was stepping down temporarily. The news brought cheers to a passionate crowd. People at the rally said they were outraged that the neighborhood watch officer, George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Martin had not been arrested.
"This is unacceptable," said California rap artist Yoyo, also known as Yolanda Whittaker. "We want that man arrested and tried like everybody else. We are just asking for everything that any woman out here who has birthed a child would be asking for!"
Lots of parents brought teenage sons and daughters to the rally. Some say they wanted their children to be part of the a national discussion on race, society and respect and to be aware.
"This could happen any day, to any of us out here, any teenager, at any time," said 16-year old Camden Hill. "I just pray that it doesn't happen to me or any of my close friends."
No justice, no peace," was the message rally-goers chanted as they demanded an end to racial profiling and discrimination. Many called the Florida shooting an injustice and a setback to creating a peaceful racial community.
L.A. resident Conrad Williams said there is still present-day injustice the Los Angeles African-American community experiences.
"If we go to certain neighborhoods, Culver City, you're profiled. Beverly Hills, you're profiled. If you drive a certain kind of car, they're going to pull you over."
Another rally is planned for Sunday in Los Angeles.