From Florida to right here in Chicago, the public reacted Sunday to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
A Florida jury on Saturday night found Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in a shooting that grew from a confrontation as Martin, 17, walked home from a convenience store in February 2012.
29-year-old Zimmerman is spending his first full day of freedom in hiding. Death threats have followed him since the shooting back in February 2012.
The parents of Trayvon Martin are said to be devastated by the jury’s finding of “not guilty.” Through social media they have asked for calm. They rely on relatives to be their voice.
Throughout the nation last night, protests brought out angry vocal crowds but there were few reports of violence or damage. Even in Sanford, the site of the courtroom battle, there was only a tepid reaction to the acquittal.
But that doesn’t mean the debates of injustice, racial profiling and gun violence were silent.
Several hundred protestors gathered at Daley Plaza also shared their frustrations over the verdict. They continued with a march throughout the Loop, some wearing hoodies similar to Martin.
And at Rainbow Push Headquarters a gathering was held as well with the Rev Jackson heading to Orlando to meet with Martin’s parents.
From the White House, President Obama called Martin’s death a tragedy for America.
“I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher,” he said.
“I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son. And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities.
“We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis,” Obama said.