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National protests of Zimmerman verdict planned for Saturday

Supporters of Trayvon Martin around the nation

Supporters of Trayvon Martin around the nation

National protests of Zimmerman verdict planned for Saturday

Supporters of Trayvon Martin around the nation are expressing their outrage.

 (Photo by Duane Fernandez, Sr. for the Florida Courier)

By George E. Curry

     WASHINGTON, D.C.  (NNPA) – Demonstrations are planned for 100 cities this Saturday, July 20, to protest George Zimmerman’s acquittal for murder and manslaughter in connection with the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. and to urge the Justice Department to investigate whether Martin’s civil rights were violated.

On Saturday night, an all-female jury acquitted Zimmerman of all charges, freeing him from further criminal prosecution in Florida.

At a rally in front of the Justice Department Tuesday, Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network (NAN), announced that “Justice For Trayvon” prayer vigils will take place in front of federal buildings in 100 cities on Saturday to add pressure on the Justice Department to bring a civil case against Zimmerman.

NAN planning a statewide drive in Florida against its “Stand Your Ground” law. A movement that can be spread to 28 other states that have similar laws.

Speaking at the centennial celebration of Delta Sigma Theta sorority in Washington on Monday, Holder said, the Justice Department would “continue to act in a manner that is consistent with the facts and the law.”

He said, “We are determined to meet division and confusion with understanding and com-passion — and also with truth. We are resolved, as you are, to combat violence involving or directed at young people, to prevent future tragedies and to deal with the underlying attitudes, mistaken beliefs and stereotypes that serve as the basis for these too common incidents. And we will never stop working to ensure that — in every case, in every circumstance, and in every community — justice must be done.”

Holder addressed the annual convention of the NAACP Tues-day in Orlando, not far from where Trayvon Martin was killed by Zimmerman as he re-turned from a nearby convenience store to purchase a bag of Skittles and a can of ice tea.

Benjamin Crump, the lead attorney for the Martin family, said Zimmerman racially pro-filed Martin because he was an African-American youth dressed in a hoodie-style sweat shirt.

“That’s profiling. And there’s a big question whether that’s allowed, and so I think the Justice Department should look at that,” he said on CNN’s “New Day.”

Crump, who has likened Martin’s death to those of civil rights icons Medgar Evers and Emmett Till, told reporters that the dead teenager’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, will weigh their options about whether to file a wrongful death civil lawsuit against Zimmerman. He said Sybrina Fulton was devastated by the verdict.

“She cried, she prayed to God, and then she cried some more,” Crump recounted. “She said, ‘I will not let this verdict define Trayvon. We will define our son Trayvon’s legacy.”

Shortly after the trial, Tracy Martin tweeted. “God blessed Me & Sybrina with Tray and even in his death I know my baby proud of the FIGHT we along with all of you put up for him GOD BLESS.”

Since the verdict, there have been dozens of demonstrations across the country, most of them peaceful. More than 2,000 distraught demonstrators gathered in front of the CNN Center in Atlanta. At a demonstration in front of the Justice Department Monday, Rev. Anthony Evans, president of the National Black Church Initiative said, “We want the Justice Department to assure that other African-American males will not be killed because they ran into a White American who was afraid of their presence.”

In one of the rare demonstrations involving violence, a few protesters hurled flashlight batteries, rocks and chunks of concrete toward police in Los Angeles. Police responded by shooting bean bags at the unruly protesters. Less than a dozen people were arrested at the otherwise peaceful rally.

At emotional rallies around the nation, some protesters carried bags of Skittles, the candy that Trayvon Martin bought just minutes before his death on that rainy night, and others wore hoodies, a garment Martin was wearing when he was killed.

Dominating the airwaves and social media, many are making their voice heard.

A petition by the NAACP on moveon.org requesting a Justice Department investigation into the case has drawn more than 500,000 signatures. Another petition on the site called for a boycott of Florida, similar to the successful one launched against Arizona when it refused to recognize Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday.

“Florida is not a safe place to take your family for vacation as long as Florida law permits a citizen to shoot or kill you for merely looking suspicious, and to do it with impunity,” the petition says. “Boycott Florida tourism until this dangerous law is overturned. If the murder of Trayvon Martin isn’t enough to get lawmakers’ attention, maybe a loss of revenue to the state would be.”

In a statement, National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) Chairman Cloves Campbell, Jr., publisher of the Arizona Informant, said:

“Like many Americans, particularly African-Americans, I am deeply disappointed that George Zimmerman has been acquitted of murder and man-slaughter charges and is now enjoying his freedom after killing an unarmed, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin whose only “crime” was walking while Black.

 

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    About The Author

    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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