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“I will continue to fight for Trayvon until the day I die,” he said.

In New York City, Martin’s mother said she was determined to fight for societal and legal changes needed to ensure that black youths are no longer viewed with suspicion because of their skin color.

“I promise you I’m going to work for your children as well,” Sybrina Fulton told a crowd that included music superstars Jay-Z and Beyonce.

Mr. Sharpton told supporters he wants to see a rollback of stand-your-ground self-defense laws.

“We are trying to change laws so that this never, ever happens again,” he said.

The Justice Department says it is investigating the case — an inquiry welcomed by Ms. Fulton and civil rights leaders.

On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. vowed to take a “hard look” at a new generation of “stand your ground” self-defense laws enacted in Florida and nearly two dozen other states.

Meanwhile on Friday, President Obama spoke at length about his own personal experiences with racism, saying it would be “useful” to review “stand your ground” laws and to renew efforts aimed at boosting the self-esteem of black boys.

Speakers at the District rally noted that “stand your ground” laws have been adopted at the local level and encouraged those who do not support such legislation to get involved politically in local elections.

“We cannot have another Trayvon Martin,” Janaye Ingram, D.C. bureau chief for the National Action Network, said.

This article is based in part on wire service reports