500 gather at DC courthouse decrying Zimmerman verdict - New York News

500 gather at DC courthouse decrying Zimmerman verdict

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WASHINGTON -

A crowd of more than 500 people peacefully gathered outside the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., Saturday. Many of the signs carried by demonstrators decried the outcome of Trayvon Martin--George Zimmerman case in Florida, where the neighborhood watch volunteer was acquitted in the shooting death of the unarmed teenager.

"I support the justice system that we have in America," declared Lennox Abrigo, the pastor of the Seventh-Day New Covenant Church in Hyattsville from the podium. "I support the rule of law. So I respect the jury's right to bring a verdict. But I disagree with every cell in my body with that verdict." The crowd roared its agreement with that sentiment.

Long time civil rights activist Dick Gregory suggested that Americans unhappy with Florida's "stand your ground" law should boycott the purchase of oranges from the Sunshine State.

The chair of the National Congress of Black Women challenged white Americans, Latino Americans, and gay Americans to join with black Americans to demand justice. Dr. E. Faye Williams told the crowd: "We've got to call on our friends to stand up for justice, for Trayvon Martin."

The Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network organized the rallies at courthouses in more than a hundred cities. A spokeswoman for that group told the DC-area crowd that the ballot box is their biggest single weapon. Janaye Ingram urged people to register and to vote, and to get their friends and relatives to register and vote "not just [for] the Presidential race... but [in] every election: the special election, the Senate race, all of the elections.... We have to be there!"

Many of the speakers exhorted members of the crowd to come back to Washington, D.C. on August 24th. That is the weekend in which people will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's historic civil rights march on Washington.

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