150 march in Hammond for change

2013-07-20T20:30:00Z 2013-07-22T00:19:06Z 150 march in Hammond for changeJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | Hannah Cherry, 96, marched in front of the federal court building Saturday morning.

The heat, her age, nothing, said her daughter, Albertine Dent of Hammond, was going to stop the woman from being part of the anti-violence rally that drew about 150 people.

Dent said her mother was upset last year when she heard Trayvon Martin was shot dead in Florida and continued to be concerned during and after the trial.

"She was concerned that could be her son, her grandsons," said Dent.

The rally and march, though focused on young people.

"These young people are excited, energetic. It is a good time to get them engaged," said Bishop Tavis Grant, national field director of Rainbow PUSH Coalition, which organized the event, one of several  in cities across the country.

While the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Martin sparked the rally, those who took part said it is much more than that one event that brought them out.

Grant said Indiana's stand your ground law is much like the one in Florida and needs to be changed. He also encouraged those participating to register to vote to let their voices be heard.

"Silence is not going to change anything," said Makeda Winfield, 17, of East Chicago. "I came out because I want to be a part of change. The youth, we are the future. We have to start fighting and not be so silent all the time."

"The biggest message is to be the change you want to see. We have to be an example and that will go viral," said Anastacia Davis, 18, of East Chicago and a board member with The Circle, a youth organization in the city. "There are so many youth out there that are doing good things."

For Dacarla Mason of Indianapolis, her involvement was a little more personal. She joined the march in memory of her cousin, Alex Lenore, who was shot and killed at his grandmother's house in Gary in April. She said his murder has not been solved.

The march also drew several elected officials including Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson.

"I think it is important for us all over the country to let our voices be known over (our displeasure) with the verdict," said Freeman-Wilson, adding that she's concerned about having to have conversations with young black men, "telling them to be careful, not to look someone in the eye."

"We shouldn't have to be telling them those things in 2013," she said.

Grant said he hopes Lake County, with its diverse background, can become a centerpiece of change for the country.

"We really have to approach this as a problem that can be fixed. We have to become better, not bitter," said Grant.

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