Sarasota student Janecia Coney and her grandmother traveled to St. Petersburg Saturday to join a protest march and rally over the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Janecia is 15, just a couple years younger than the Sanford teenager shot to death by Geroge Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer.
Janecia has been following the Trayvon case on Facebook, including protests in Florida and across the nation by people calling for Zimmerman's arrest. Saturday also marked a day of protests in Sanford.
Once Janecia heard about the rally in downtown St. Pete, she felt compelled to be a part of it. "I asked her to take me," said Coney, who came to the rally with her grandmother.
For Janecia Coney, one fact remains: "there needs to be less violence."
Many of the protesters gathered in Poynter Park Saturday were like Jessica. They talked about following the case about the unarmed teen who was shot by Zimmerman, who is claiming self defense. They said they felt compelled to do something to show their concern and outrage.
Some people showed up for the protest carrying bags of Skittles and cans of iced tea, which the boy was holding when he was shot to death by Zimmerman. Others wore hoodies in the morning heat, another sign of support for the teen, who had on a hooded sweatshirt on when he was shot.
Other marchers included grammar school children from a Poynter writing program. The kids wore T-shirts with messages that included a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter."
The children's sponsor noted that the quotation seemed to reflect the spirit and intent of protesters but also applies to so many other conflicts in life.
Chanting "I am Trayvon. I am somebody," the marchers made their way through the city's downtown, crossing Central Avenue and heading east past the chic restaurants on Beach Drive. Patrons sitting down to an early brunch stared and said little as the 75 people walked by, many holding signs.
The march was staged by Sevell Brown, who is the National Director of the National Christian League of Councils. Brown spoke about the need for "truth and justice" for the Florida teen.
"Floridians, across the board, stand in support of Trayvon Martin and his family in this search for truth and justice," said Brown.