Editor’s note: This post was written by WLRN reporter Tasnim Shamma.
Over 40 college students from around the state gathered near the Bethune-Cookman University campus in Daytona Beach Friday afternoon. They’re walking 41 miles to Sanford to call for justice for Trayvon Martin. The march is meant to mimic the historic 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
The campaign began at Daisy Stocking Park and will conclude on April 9 at Sanford City Hall. During the march, students will be stopping every two hours and receiving training. They will also work on developing a strategy to launch a larger youth movement to address racial inequalities. Their first stop is the Volusia Regional Juvenile Detention Center for a prayer vigil and speakout. You can track the group as they march on their website.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and police officers in Daytona Beach, DeLand and Orange City are coordinating and will be helping with traffic control to make sure the students are safe while crossing busy highways.
Vanessa Baden, a 2007 alumna of Florida State, flew in from Los Angeles to attend the march on behalf of Dream Defenders. She said the purpose of the march is to call for the arrest of George Zimmerman and the investigation of the process of law enforcement following the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
“What we’re not trying to do is try Zimmerman in the court of public opinion. We get that there’s a process in this,” Baden said. “We’ll be patient with the process if they allow the process to begin.”
The Dream Defenders expect college students will join them as they continue marching. The group also led the April 2006 march and sit-in at former Governor Jeb Bush’s office in April 2006 after the death of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson. What started with 30 students marching ended up with a sit-in of 115 students.
On the same day the march concludes, community members and students involved with Dream Defenders in Miami will be demonstrating in front of Senator Marco Rubio’s office in Doral at noon to protest his recent defense of the “Stand Your Ground” law.