Across the nation, demonstrators are rallying against yesterday’s Florida verdict acquitting former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin.
Protests, vigils and rallies began in cities across the country just moments after a jury of six women found Zimmerman not guilty.
Here in Philadelphia, those moved by the verdict gathered before midnight last night as part of a 17-hour vigil which began around 11:30 p.m. last night at the Municipal Services Building on Thomas Paine Plaza.
Today, Sunday, July 14, at 6:00 p.m., supporters of Occupy Philadelphia have called for a rally at 15th and JFK Blvd., centered at Love Park.
Mayor Michael Nutter released a statement this morning, saying, “everyone should be calm and reflective” during this time.
“We are a country governed by the rule of law, and while I respect the criminal justice system, I am deeply saddened by and strongly disagree with the verdict of “not guilty” in this case. A young black man is dead without any real explanation. George Zimmerman took an innocent life. Trayvon Martin, who at trial was made to appear threatening when all he had was a bag of Skittles and an ice tea, should not have died at Zimmerman’s hands and I believe the jury should have exacted a penalty.
“As a parent, I can’t begin to know what Trayvon’s proud and dignified parents are feeling right now, but I pray for them in this dark hour. And I urge everyone to keep them in their thoughts and prayers.
“The question now for all Americans is what are we to do in the wake of this tragic loss of life? I believe everyone should be calm and reflective. Every day in America, African American males die on our streets in outrageously alarming numbers. Whether they die at the hands of a vigilante or another African American male, we must all commit ourselves to eliminating the conditions in our community that cause too many people to see young African American males as “threats” instead of seeing the promise within each child. If only we adults could find ways to offer a pathway of education and responsibility toward a productive life. We need to resolve to make life better in America for all our children, regardless of skin color. Let us focus our anger and resolve to work toward a more just, safer and more caring America.”