HAMMOND | Congregations from five area churches, local youths and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition plan to march Saturday in Hammond to protest violence.
The march is part of the Justice For Trayvon 100 City Vigil, a national day of action hosted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Chicago-based Rainbow PUSH Coalition and other activist groups.
Tavis Grant, pastor and bishop of Greater First Baptist Church in East Chicago, said the march was sparked in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who was charged in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
"The verdict was stunning and eye-opening," Grant said.
The demonstration will begin at noon Saturday on Douglas Street, near the Hammond federal courthouse, and the group will march around the block. Signs will read "fight for justice" and "stop the violence," organizers said.
An estimated 500 or more people will participate in the march, Grant said.
The Circle, an activist group of East Chicago Central High School alumni, and Grant, also the national field director for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, organized the event in Hammond. Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a civil rights organization founded and led by the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Robin Grant, of Greater First Baptist Church, said many members of her church have been personally affected by violence. One member's mother was killed by a stray bullet that entered through her living room window. Tavis Grant has presided over several funerals of people killed by street violence.
"It's not just about Trayvon Martin," Robin Grant said. "This may have initiated it, but everyone has their own reason to march. There are many different circumstances of violence affecting people. It's not just that one instance of violence."