MINNEAPOLIS - The crowd in downtown Minneapolis easily reached a thousand as people gathered to ask for justice in the death of Trayvon Martin.
"I definitely think it's a step backwards," said Nekima Levy-Ponds, a civil rights attorney and organizer of the rally.
Levy-Ponds says the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial only fuels the racial fire that exists in this country and sends a message to young people of color.
"One of the things the decision did was to send a message to African Americans in particular that our lives really have little value within society," she said.
Putting an end to the persecution of youth of color is a main message for the gathering. That, along with justice for Martin and justice for Terrance Franklin.
Franklin died during an altercation with Minneapolis police in May and the group would like to see someone held responsible.
"We want the prosecution of the police, we want an independent investigation, we want justice," yelled one of the speakers.
The event was peaceful. Something that was important to the many people who helped make it happen. It was made up of people of all ages and races, each there for their own reasons.
"I want to know that this matters. I want to know that this matters to someone else besides me," said KayeAnn Mason, who came from St. Paul to take part.
"Because I have a son who is blonde hair, blue eyes, and he should be treated the same as everybody else and everybody should be treated the same as him so I wanted to bring my baby to his first civil rights rally," said Marie Halverson, attending with her eight-month old on her shoulders.
Organizers know one rally won't change the world, but say it's at least a peaceful place to start.
"Hearts have to change, minds need to open, and there needs to be a willingness on the part of our society to put aside our differences and to respect and appreciate racial diversity. Unfortunately, we're not there yet," said Levy Ponds.
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