A week after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, rallies were held across the nation protesting Stand Your Ground laws and demanding “Justice for Trayvon.” One, held Saturday, called America “unsafe for black men” and appealed to athletes to quit their teams in boycott.
At the National Actions Network Rally for Trayvon Martin in Las Vegas, hundreds of people gathered in front of the federal building, according to Breitbart News. Gospel music played to a positive and upbeat crowd.
“I want you to understand the reason why we are here today,” rally organizer Sheila Collins said, according to Breitbart. “We are here to ask the federal government to pursue and investigate filing civil rights violations against George Zimmerman. That is our purpose for standing out here today…We are honoring Trayvon Martin but there are many Trayvon Martins due to a bias and unbalance in the system….Now it seems that it is unsafe for black men to live in America.”
After the Black National Anthem was played, several speakers took the stage to express their frustration with the outcome of the trial, the justice system and Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws.
In an unusual prayer request, Pastor Charles McCaul said the “not-guilty verdict is not the end of the story,” and called for “the federal government to reopen this case to seek justice for Trayvon Martin.”
Gene Collins, local affiliate president of National Actions Network and long-time activist and community organizer, said the group was seeking social change in the community.
“Today is a day the Lord has made to demonstrate to the state of Florida and other states who has passed laws who are bias to black and brown people of this race,” Collins said, according to Breitbart. “We are here also to ask our sports icons LeBron James, Dwyane Wade… and other professional players in baseball and footballs to change franchises and play for another franchise until the state of Florida recognizes there has to be change.”
“We are also asking the collegiate athletes who have signed contracts and who have signed letters of intent to play for various universities to transfer to another university until the governor of the state of Florida calls a special session and changes the laws so that African American males and females, black and brown kids will be safe in the state of Florida,” Collins added.
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