HEMPSTEAD, NY (CBSNewYork/AP) – Activists around the Tri-State are holding rallies on Saturday to call for justice in the killing of a Florida teenager by a neighborhood watch volunteer.

The rallies come in response to the February shooting death of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was killed by George Zimmerman in what he claimed was an act of self-defense.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports

Students from both Hempstead and Uniondale High Schools wore hooded sweatshirts as they sang and rallied in support of Martin, and 18-year-old Patonia Garra told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall that Martin’s death has taken a toll on her.

“I have a brother myself,” Garra said, “and I think about him and how it could have been my brother.”

Students weren’t the only ones wearing hoodies and rallying for Martin in Hempstead.

“I wear this hoodie because that’s what he wore,” neighborhood watch captain Kurt Kronenberg said. “What is it going to be, are they going to shoot me now because I’m wearing a hoodie?”

Activists also gathered on Saturday morning at the corner of Albany Avenue and Main Street in Hartford.

Hartford activists are calling for Zimmerman’s arrest and support for Martin’s family. Many have been calling for the arrest of Zimmerman of late, saying the man would have been arrested had he been black and the victim white.

Hartford mayor Pedro Segarra, minister Cornell Lewis and Kamora Herrington of the National Black Justice Coalition were expected to speak at the rally.

The University of Connecticut in Storrs and the University of New Haven are also planning solidarity rallies for next week.

“It’s time people think about our kids differently,” one school advisor told Hall. “Many think about them as thugs and robbers, and that is not the case.”

On Wednesday, members of the New York City council gathered on the steps of City Hall with hoods up. They also carried bags of Skittles and cans of iced tea, as the unarmed 17-year-old was when he was shot dead.

And last week, a ”Million Hoodie March” was held in Union Square. Those at the rally, which included Occupy Wall Street protesters, said they were standing against stereotypes of black men who wear hooded sweatshirts.

Have you attended any of these rallies or protests? Share your stories and add your comments below…

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