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Zimmerman found not guilty, call issued for nationwide protests

Demand justice for Trayvon Martin
By Jared Hamil |
July 14, 2013
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Rally outside the courthouse July 13.
Rally outside the courthouse July 13. (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Keith Mack of Jacksonville speaking at Justice for Trayvon courthouse rally. Chrisley Carpio leading courthouse rally July 13. Police target and remove Trayvon supporter after pro-Zimmerman racist taunts the
Police target and remove Trayvon supporter after pro-Zimmerman racist taunts the people's rally.
Chrisley Carpio leading courthouse rally July 13.
Keith Mack of Jacksonville speaking at Justice for Trayvon courthouse rally. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Sanford, FL – On July 13, activists and community members came together here, demanding justice for Trayvon Martin, the African American youth shot by vigilante killer George Zimmerman.

The day began with people showing up at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center, the courthouse for the Zimmerman trial. In the hot Florida sun, and braving thunderstorms, the people united under a banner that read, “End racial oppression: Justice 4 Trayvon.” For over 13 hours they chanted, yelled and cried out calling for justice. Throughout the day, the protesters did not have access to any water, food, bathrooms or shade from the hot sun. In fact, the police and city officials in Sanford knowingly did not provide these things in order to deter and prevent protesters from the action. But without all of these things, the people found a way. Many activists provided water and food for free.

As the day went on the protest became stronger. People chanted “Murder not manslaughter,” and “When I say ‘Black,’ you say ‘power.’” Midday, gathered in front of the courthouse, expecting a verdict from the jury, Marisol Marquez of the Legalization for All Network said, “The same system that wants to let Zimmerman go free, is the same system that murdered Trayvon Martin. This system of racist discrimination targets our people and locks them up, kills them, or deports them. We’re here today to demand justice. Trayvon is not an isolated case, and we want to start here with tearing down the wall of oppression and demanding justice for all.”

As the crowd grew, so did racist counter-protesters, who tried to provoke African Americans with racial slurs. The police presence also began to build and police eventually turned people away from joining the protest when they tried to enter the parking lot of the courthouse. At one point the conflict between protesters and counter-protesters increased to a point where police attempted to take an African American pro-Trayvon protester out of the crowd. The crowd surrounded the police chanting, “Stand together” which made them let the protester go.

By nightfall the group had grown to over 200 people. People continued to call out for justice. The chants grew louder, and more people came together waiting for news on the trial. By 10:00, the news of the verdict came as people listened to the trial over their cell phones. George Zimmerman was found not guilty on charges of second degree murder. Many people, outraged, started yelling out, but even more began to cry.

Chrisley Carpio of the Coalition to March to Sanford/Justice for Trayvon said, “George Zimmerman may have been on trial tonight, but it is the American justice system that failed the test. Black and brown youth now see that they should work to build a new America, to build their own communities and protect their own youth, as they cannot trust racist America to do it for them.” Shortly thereafter, the protesters started chanting, “The system has failed!” As disbelief and sadness turned to anger, the crowd chanted calling for a nationwide protest. They spoke to national and international media outlets demanding nationwide protests calling for justice not only for Trayvon Martin, but the many other Black and brown youth murdered in a system of racist discrimination. Protests are planned in over 30 cities for July 14 and July 15.