Rallies planned for Trayvon Martin - WFLA News Channel 8

Dozens show up for Trayvon Martin rallies

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One week after a Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in the death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin, protestors held rallies in 100 cities to press for civil rights charges against the former neighborhood watch leader. Dozens showed up for them in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota.

"I know that this was a big deal for our community and I did expect this crowd," said Keisha Pickett, one of the organizers for the rally in Tampa. "I'm so glad they came and that we were peaceful and that we got this done, got this said. I'm very very excited about that."

Zimmerman claimed self-defense after shooting Martin during an altercation. The case has become a flash point in national debates over guns, race relations and self-defense laws. Zimmerman identifies as Hispanic. Martin was black.

The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network has organized the "Justice for Trayvon" rallies and vigils outside federal buildings from New York and Los Angeles to Des Moines, Iowa, and Little Rock, Ark. He wants the Justice Department to pursue a case.

Earl Presley, who showed up to protest in Tampa feels justice wasn't served either.

"I feel that the verdict was a direct slap in the face," Presley said. "I'm going to put it into context of a bully: If the bully goes and picks on someone, the bully can't call or cry foul when the bully gets beat up."

The crowd in Tampa especially was quite diverse. Alicia Lucas has 5 children who are biracial: Puerto Rican and African America.

"I wanted to support the family of Trayvon Martin and I wanted to show my children that they do not take this as law and they do not accept it and they fight and they tell people when things are wrong, we need to change it," Lucas said. "I wanted to show them that there is strength in numbers and that, though many people will look at the color of their skin and dismiss them, there are many more people who will look at them and love them."

Elizabeth Corwin, a white woman who held a sign saying 'My mother wears Hoodies,' felt passionate as well.

"My mother's 87 years-old and the day the verdict came out she and I were at the beach and I was helping her put her hoodie on," Corwin said. "I heard all this about Trayvon Martin wearing a hoodie, looking suspicious. My mother's my height, about 20 pounds less than I am [and] incredibly frail. We all wear hoodies. If you're suspicious just because you're wearing hoodie, then shoot my 87 year-old mother."

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