Feb. 5 would have been Trayvon Martin’s 18th birthday. In Sanford, Fla., where Martin was killed in 2012 by gunman George Zimmerman, residents, civil rights leaders, clergy and even police officers held a peace rally and called for an end to gun violence.
The rally was led by Pastor Robin Riggins of Getting Your House in Order Ministries in the Glassboro neighborhood in Sanford. The Sanford Police Department, along with the NAACP, also helped organize the rally.
Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, did not attend the rally. Their attorney Benjamin Crump said the time was difficult for them.
“Today is very hard for them–very, very hard for them,” Crump reportedly said. “The whole world was watching, and we showed that in this country there is equal justice for all, no matter who you are,”
Fulton held a fundraising dinner on Sunday in honor of her son for the foundation she and Tracy Martin founded. In a recent interview with the Grio, Fulton said sometimes it can be rough when thinking about her son.
“I have my times,” Fulton said on Monday. “Right now it’s a pretty good time. You know his birthday is tomorrow, so I’m just trying to make it through that. My family initially was strong, so this has made my family even stronger, because we lean on each other.”
Other events celebrating Martin birthday included a “Day of Remembrance Walk” in Miami. A group also sang “Happy Birthday” in honor of Martin outside of the Seminole County Courthouse, where Zimmerman’s trial is taking place.
As the case against Zimmerman presses on–he has been charged with second-degree murder–reports indicate that he appeared in court on Martin’s birthday. A judge rejected his request to delay the trial, slated to begin in June. Zimmerman’s lawyers claimed they needed more time to prepare.