The shooting death of a Florida teenager in February that attracted national attention prompted some Oklahomans to speak out about injustice toward minorities and racism.
A group of people gathered Sunday in Oklahoma City near NW 23 and Classen Boulevard to protest the death of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old boy who was fatally shot in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26 by a neighborhood watch volunteer.
The man, George Zimmerman, 28, told police he shot Martin in self-
Zimmerman has not been arrested or charged in the case.
“Seeing this scenario, it hits home. Ethnic and racial injustice happens,” said Jason Quaynor, 23, of Norman.
Quaynor, a senior English and writing major at the University of Oklahoma, said he participated in the protest to spread awareness about the shooting and other cases dealing with race.
He said there have been questionable shootings in Oklahoma, including the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old black man by a police officer in Del City on March 14.
Police said Dane Garrett Scott Jr. led officers on a short pursuit before crashing near Interstate 35 and SE 15 in Oklahoma City. The officer said Scott tried to leave the scene and fought with him over a gun. Friends and family question the officer's account of what happened.
“It's not just for Trayvon Martin. It's for all their voices to be heard at the same time,” Quaynor said. “It's an opportunity to seek justice and be seen as equals.”
Protesters held signs and chanted at the intersection, encouraging people to honk their horns for justice.
Police said Martin was unarmed, wearing a hoodie and carrying a bag of Skittles and iced tea when he was shot. To pay tribute to the teen, some protesters wore similar clothing and had bags of the candy.
The group also had a banner with Martin's picture that read “Justice for Trayvon. Am I next?” Protesters took turns signing the banner until it was nearly full of signatures.
Michelle Petties, 36, of Oklahoma City, stood nearby with her young daughters. Each of them held signs about Martin and their own rights as bi-racial Americans.
Petties said her daughters should be able to exist in a society with the same rights as everyone else.
“It's time for a change,” she said.