One week after the jury returned a not guilty verdict in George Zimmerman’s murder of 17 year old unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, has resulted in supporters for Trayvon holding vigils from New York to Miami, and in 98 additional cities across the nation. Rallying to put pressure on the Justice Department’s civil rights investigation and calling for a repeal of “Stand Your Ground” laws.
Two cornerstone events were held in New York City and Miami on Saturday. In New York, Rev. Al Sharpton was joined by the deceased teen’s mother Sybrina Fulton and his brother Jahvaris Fulton. Also in attendance in the NYC vigil were Superstars Jay-Z and Beyonce, as well as television’s own Judge Mathis. Martin’s father Tracy was joined with other activists from the National Action Network outside a federal courthouse in Miami, Fla., at the same time.
Smaller events were planned for towns like Natchez, Miss., and Anniston, Ala., and in Memphis they plan to rally at National Civil Rights Museum, on the site of the historic Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. In Portland, Ore., members of the Portland Campaign to End the New Jim Crow lead the vigil. In Richmond, Va.
The president addressed both of the specific issues — “Stand Your Ground” laws and a federal investigation — and the broader concern of racial disparities in the criminal justice system during impromptu remarks Friday where he also called for examination of “Stand Your Ground” type laws.
“I think it would be useful for us to examine some state and local laws to see if it — if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than diffuse potential altercations,” he said.
Protesters in Florida have been putting pressure squarely on Gov. Rick Scott, staging rallies and sit-ins at his Tallahassee office. He finally met with them Thursday, but refused to budge on his support for the law – citing a 2012 task force review that supported with it, and instead advising the protesters of their right to petition lawmakers.
Fulton recognizes and appreciates that her son’s story has resonated with many. In fact, organizers at the National Action Network tell PoliticsNation that they have a number of new faces who’ve reached out, offering to organize “Justice for Trayvon” events in their town.
“We’re trying to get as many people connected to this movement,” Fulton told Rev. Sharpton.
“There are people that want positive change. There are people that want the injustice to stop,” she said.
But the event organizers are also adamant that the voices remain controlled and non-violent.
“For the rallies that’s going on, for the marches, that are going on–for the most part they’re peaceful, and we want them to remain peaceful,” Fulton said. “We want them to have a voice, and we want their voices to be heard, because people are listening and numbers count, and that’s what’s important.”
You can find out more information about today’s vigils at the National Action Network website.
Here are some pictures from rallies across the nation. Search hashtag #100CityTrayvon or #100CityVigil on Instagram for more images. It was extremely inspiring to see people from all different backgrounds come together for a cause that affects us all.
Trayvon Martin your memory will live on FOREVER!!!!
For information on how you can get involved, and protect you or your child’s rights, visit some of these sites:
Know your worth, and don’t let anyone or anything try to tell you differently.
Be Bold. Stand Out. Make A Statement!