Though more than 1,500 miles separate Minneapolis from Sanford, Fla., in a show of connectedness and solidarity, a multitude of area citizens plan to rally in opposition of the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial.
On Saturday, Zimmerman was found not guilty in the Feb. 26, 2012 slaying of unarmed African-American teenager, Trayvon Martin, 17. Martin was returning from a corner store to the home he was staying in when he was shot and killed by Zimmerman. Zimmerman admitted to the shooting, but maintained it was in self-defense. An all female jury of five whites and one non-white – with none African-American – deliberated more than 18 hours before returning with the not guilty verdict.
Immediately following the verdict, spontaneous protests and rallies sprung up in Sanford, New York City, Oakland and many other cities throughout the nation. Thus far, all of the gatherings have been peaceful protests, with a varied racial make up.
In Minneapolis, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) has organized a rally to take place today (Monday) at 6 p.m. outside of the Hennepin County Government Center, 300 S. 6th St., downtown Minneapolis. A similar rally was held in March of 2012 on the University of Minnesota campus calling for charges to be brought against Zimmerman for the slaying. That rally drew an estimated 5,000 people.
Initially, Zimmerman was not changed in the killing, but national community outcry was credited with having a special prosecutor being brought in and second degree murder charges filed against Zimmerman, who was 28 at the time of the shooting. Though the jury was later given the option to find Zimmerman guilty of the lesser change of manslaughter, the panel opted to acquit on all charges.
There is a growing national movement calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to federally charge Zimmerman with violating Martin’s civil rights. The DOJ took similar action against four white police officers in the videotape beating of Los Angeles motorist, Rodney King. In that case an all white jury acquitted the officers in state court, but following days of bloody rioting, federal charges were filed and two of the four officers were subsequently convicted of violating King’s civil rights.
Organizers of today’s #HoodiesUp for Trayvon rally are asking protestors to bring hoodies or wear a black ribbon in support of the Martin family.