Students from Bethune-Cookman University among other colleges in Florida have embarked on a three-day, 41-mile journey from Daytona Beach to Sanford, Fla. to protest what they perceive as the improper handling of the Trayvon Martin case by Sanford authorities.
Organized under an umbrella organization called The Dream Defenders, the students have organized the march to pay respectful homage to the historic event in which Dr. Martin Luther King led a contingent of civil rights activists on a journey from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.
The Dream Defenders coordinated the three-day protest via Facebook and Twitter. Their logo features an image of Martin Luther King wearing a hoodie.
“The group began assembling at Daisy Stocking Park on Third Street in Daytona Beach about noon Friday and set out on the first led of the march [at] about 2:40 p.m.,” the Orlando Sentinel reports.
March coordinator Gabriel Pendas, who is an alumnus of Florida State University, told the paper that the marchers will rest at churches during the night.
The march will end on April 8 at about 7 p.m., where students will convene at the Allen Chapel AME Church, which has hosted many protests regarding the Trayvon Martin incident.
About 40 students from Gainesville, Tallahassee, Miami and Daytona Beach kicked off the march, but organizers hope that more students will join along the way, and that students will be galvanized to engage in concurrent political action in other locations. An influx of additional march participants is expected on Saturday.
To participating students, the death of Trayvon Martin is an assault on Dr. King’s dream of equality for all.
One participant said: “We’re looking to defend the dream that a lot of youths have about equality and fairness, for all that we’re not seeing.”
Trayvon Martin, 17, was killed on February 26 in Sanford, Fla. while unarmed by an unregistered neighborhood watch captain who claimed he shot in self-defense. The fact that the shooter remains uncharged and free has inspired a wave of protests demanding that Martin’s killer be arrested. Many believe that Martin’s death was not investigated thoroughly due to racial bias.
Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb