WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Sonia Gilbert looks at her two young sons and sees the Trayvon Martin case.
"When I first heard about the story, the first thing I did was to pray with them and to grab ahold of them," said Gilbert, a West Palm Beach resident. "That could have been them."
Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters joined some 100 people at the Payne Chapel on Wednesday to rally on behalf of Trayvon Martin.
"Society has a duty to protect our children," said Masters.
The NAACP's West Palm Beach branch president Lia Gaines says Martin's death is only the most publicized example of what the African-American community calls a harsh reality, namely that the deaths of young black men are often ignored.
"People for some reason don't want to talk about issues of race. Unless we talk about those issues head on, we're not going to get to a better place," said Gaines.
Just hours before Wednesday's rally, three Palm Beach County School District employees were suspended by the board for allegedly leaving a noose on district property last year to intimidate black co-workers.
School board member Debra Robinson sees that in the context of a long struggle.
"Isn't it strange, the more things change, the more they stay the same?" asked Robinson.
In a world where the quest for equality and justice goes on, Sonia Gilbert vows to keep working hard to raise her sons and give them every opportunity to succeed in life.
"I worry about it a lot. That's why I have them in boy scouts, basketball, soccer," said Gilbert.
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