Church leaders use MLK death anniversary to honor Trayvon Martin

by: Tony Thomas Updated:

ATLANTA —

Wednesday marked the 44th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Family and friends marked the occasion by laying a wreath at the church where he ministered up until his death.

King's daughter, Bernice, helped carry the wreath out of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church sanctuary on Auburn Avenue.

She told Channel 2's Tony Thomas moments later, "I have come to a place where I honor and respect what was my loss was a gain for humanity."

The anniversary was also used as a call for action in the Trayvon Martin case.

The Rev. Ralph Warnock, who is the current pastor at Ebenezer, told a crowd gathered, "We are here tonight because we lift up the memory of Martin; Martin Luther King Jr. and Trayvon Martin."

Warnock said there must be an arrest in the Martin case.

In Sanford, Fla., neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman admits to killing the teenager, but said it was in self-defense. He is using Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law.

"The Trayvon Martin case is but a narrow window into the broad landscape of injustice in the Americas." Warnock said.

Bernice King also said the Florida case is an example of bigger issues in the country.

"I hope that people will understand that Trayvon is a piece of what's really going on globally in our society. We've got to do some serious soul searching. He symbolizes the fact that we have really to address our racial polarization in our society," she said.