Justice for Trayvon: Rallies in 100 Cities

George Zimmerman’s acquittal a week ago on all charges in the shooting death of the unarmed black teen touched off protests across the nation which lead to Justice for Trayvon rallies in 100 cities across the United States.

According to usatoday.com:

“Thousands gathered Saturday at rallies in more than 100 cities nationwide to remember Trayvon, to press for federal civil rights charges against the man who shot him, and to attack stand-your-ground self-defense laws. In the wake of the Zimmerman verdict, the Justice Department is investigating whether Zimmerman, 29, violated Martin’s civil rights when he shot the 17-year-old during a February 2012 confrontation in Sanford, Fla.

“Although Zimmerman ultimately did not use a ‘stand your ground’ defense, the case brought stand-your-ground laws into the spotlight. At one of the Justice for Trayvon rallies in New York City, civil rights activist Al Sharpton took aim at those laws, which in more than a dozen states generally give people wide latitude to use deadly force if they fear serious bodily harm. ‘We are trying to change laws so that this never, ever happens again,’ said Sharpton, who organized the nationwide rallies through his National Action Network, told the crowd.

“Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, spoke at the New York rally. ‘Today it was my son. Tomorrow it might be yours,’ she warned the crowd. Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, echoed those sentiments at a rally in Miami. “This could be any one of our children,” he said. ‘Our mission now is to make sure that this doesn’t happen to your child.”’

Obama Weighs In on Justice for Trayvon

After a week of rising emotions in the wake of the George Zimmerman acquittal, President Obama weighed in on race relations in America in general and the Stand Your Ground law in particular.

According to AtlantaBlackStar.com:

“Obama tried to explain to the nation why the African-American community has reacted with such outrage and pain to Zimmerman’s acquittal, putting the verdict in the context of the nation’s history of racism and the difficulties black people still face in this country. It was a moment that television commentators across the airwaves described as ‘historic.’ His comments “gave me chills,” said NBC’s Andrea Mitchell.

“You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” Obama said to a shocked press corps, which hadn’t even been warned that the president would appear at the briefing. ‘And when you think about why, in the African-American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that—that doesn’t go away. There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. And there are very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator. There are very few African-Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.

“Obama said those sorts of experiences shape the black community’s reaction to the Zimmerman verdict, in addition to the community’s knowledge of the serious racial disparities in the application of justice in the legal system. He said the black community is not naive about the prevalence of black-on-black crime and the violence of many black neighborhoods, and that black folks are aware of the historical context that created these conditions. He said there’s a frustration born from the knowledge that the Trayvon case would have gone very differently if it were a white male teen instead of a black male.”

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