Rallies in Milwaukee call for peace, end to stereotypes

MILWAUKEE -- As a crowd called for justice Saturday in Sanford, Florida, rallies for Trayvon Martin took place across the country. Two of those rallies were held on Milwaukee's north side.

Groups called for justice after the 17-year-old Martin was shot to death in February. In Sanford, Florida, they marched to the police department. A special prosecutor is investigating whether George Zimmerman was acting in self-defense when he killed the teen. Authorities said Zimmerman was not immediately charged because there were no grounds to disprove his account that he acted to protect himself.

In the meantime, organizers in Milwaukee say Martin's death should unite African-Americans in an effort to create peace and break stereotypes.

Rallies took place at Garden Homes Park and in the street near the corner of 34th and Capitol. The message was the same - unification and an end to stereotypes. "I feel what that family is going through, because if I was in that situation, I would want the truth to come out for my child," Cedric Pollard, who organized the Garden Homes event said.

Colkeyia Harrison brought her family to that rally and says it should inspire those in the neighborhood to take a more active role in protecting each other. "It's gonna take for everyone to grab ahold to one another - watch out for the kids, watch out for one another. If you see something, report it," Harrison said.

Many in the crowd wore hoodies and waved Skittles, which have become symbols for Martin. Those at the rallies believe Martin was targeted because of stereotypes - what he wore and the color of his skin. "African-Americans, we are stereotyped as violent, violent people, things like that, but we can come together and support that family, and show our anger and still keep it peaceful and in love, and that's what this is all about," Pollard said.

Pollard said he wanted to make sure to note that this was a "peace" event. "A lot of times, when people look at rallies, they think things are going to be tore up, people are going to get violent, things are going to get out of control, and this is the exact opposite of that. We would like to see peace. We are not promoting violence. We want to have people come together for a time such as this," Pollard said.