Sanford anti-violence rally marks Trayvon Martin's birthday

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SANFORD, Fla. - A community came together Tuesday to promote peace on what would have been Trayvon Martin's 18th birthday.

About 70 people turned out for the anti-violence rally in Sanford.

People who gathered in the Goldsboro area marked Martin's birthday by uniting the community and calling for an end to senseless shootings that continue to plague streets of their city and those across America.

"We want peace and we want unity. That's something Trayvon Martin and his family look down and said, 'This is the goal worth fighting for,'" said Benjamin Crump, Martin family attorney.

Dozens of community members and civil rights leaders called for an end to bloodshed nationwide, from a neighborhood that has endured its share of gun violence.

"Since Trayvon Martin, we've had a stream of shootings in Sanford," said Francis Oliver, one of the rally's organizers.

Tensions between the Sanford Police Department and the community boiled over after Martin was shot last February.

Controversy erupted because the man who shot Martin, George Zimmerman, wasn't immediately arrested.

Tuesday there was a discernible difference as the police got hugs from the people.

Those in attendance strapped on Band Together bracelets, vowing to instill a very important message in the community, even after today is over.

"We need to rally together and stand up for justice," said Sanford resident Marc Booker.

As the community mends broken relationships, many said they want Martin's death to send a meaningful message.

"There's something coming out of this, and that's understanding. Sanford will be a better community for it," said attorney Natalie Jackson.

Martin's parents decided to mark their son's birthday today in private at home in Miami.

This weekend the family is holding two events in their continued effort to stem the tide of gun violence across America.