NEW YORK — July 20, 2013. Standing together in the midday sun on a hot July Saturday, members of Staten Island’s diverse progressive community cried out for justice: justice for Trayvon Martin; justice for the Martin Family; justice for all of the children – and their parents – who have suffered as a result of gun violence, and lastly; justice for George Zimmerman who was not afforded an opportunity to atone for his actions.
They were not alone. Across the harbor — at One Police Plaza in lower Manhattan — and across the country, progressives held rallies. The “Justice for Trayvon Martin” rallies were part of a “National Day of Action in 100 Cities” called by Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. The “100 City” rallies were organized locally by NAN and other groups including the Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, the NAACP, and MoveOn.
The protesters were clear in their single demand: they called on Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice to file charges against George Zimmerman for the racial profiling and killing of Trayvon Martin. Civil Rights organizations backing the rallies argued that Zimmerman violated Martin’s civil rights when the neighborhood watch captain shot and killed the unarmed teen. A secondary demand, voiced at many rallies, was a call to the Obama Administration to overturn the Stand Your Ground law, in Florida and across the U.S. This is the law that made Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict possible. When legal scholars argued, on television and in print, that the prosecution’s case was weak, Civil Rights advocates responded by pointing out that Zimmerman was ordered to stand down by police and failed to do so. The NAACP and others have argued that racism informed the verdict and if the situation was reversed the outcome would have been different.
NLN had team coverage of the rallies: Bud Korotzer covered One Police Plaza and Thomas Altfather Good was at the Staten Island protest. Here are some images from the events:
Bud and Fran Korotzer contributed reporting to this article.