Then a string of speakers addressed the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
"They tried so hard to vilify Trayvon; they wanted to find a weapon on him, did they? They wanted to find out he had an extensive criminal record, did he?" author Karen Quinones Miller said.
The crowd answered back 'no' to both questions.
Martin, unarmed, was carrying an iced tea and a bag candy when he was shot to death by George Zimmerman, a Florida townwatch member, a month ago.
Zimmerman said Martin, who was wearing a hoodie, appeared suspicious.
"Let's hoodie up for Trayvon," activist Manwell Glenn said.
But Reverend Micah Sims told the crowd it wasn't a hoodie that marked the Florida teen.
"But because of the color of his skin, no justice, no peace," Sims said.
Sims and others say justice would be the arrest of George Zimmerman.
"Zimmerman, you won't rest until there's justice," activist Asa Khalif said.
Several speakers said while the Martin case is important those gathered should be equally concerned about homegrown violence
'Yes, we care about Trayvon, we're sorry, it was wrong Zimmerman killed him, it was totally wrong. But what are we going to do here in our city when our babies are dying every day," Donna Giddings of Mothers In Charge said.
At 7:17 p.m., the time Martin was killed a month ago, the proceedings paused, candles were lit, and a can of iced tea was poured onto the pavement.
The organizers have at least two more mass rallies planned in the next few days: one 6:00 p.m. Thursday in Love Park and one at 6:00 p.m. Sunday on the campus of Temple University.