By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Nearly 200 community members gathered at the Ballard Park stage Saturday afternoon to pray for the family of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old from Florida who was shot last month, and encourage each other to not let a similar incident happen in Lee County.
“We’re praying for Florida because we don’t want it to happen in Mississippi,” said Lee County District 4 Supervisor Tommie Lee Ivy, opening the rally.
The Angels of Love gospel group sang a chorus of encouragement, “Hang on in there, never give up. Keep on holding his hand.”
Event organizer Kimberly Parks of Tupelo said the chorus is her message to the Martin family.
Martin was shot by self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., in February. Some say Martin was a victim of stereotyping and others say Zimmerman was acting in self-defense.
“Injustice in one place is injustice all over the place,” said Delores Chatman.
Chatman took the stage to encourage young blacks to stay out of trouble so that they cannot be confused with an aggressor because of how they look.
“I say to the baby boys and girls, give up your guns, give up your drug-selling and give up your liquor bottles,” Chatman said. “Y’all young people have to get out of those jailhouses.”