The Days After: Reacting To The Trayvon Martin & George Zimmerman Verdict

On Saturday night, a jury in Florida found George Zimmerman, the man who killed 17-year-old unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter.

In the past couple of days, the country has been deeply polarized and emotionally affected by the verdict. I will leave the editorializing to others; as far as The Frisky goes, Amelia pretty much wrote what I also feel.  Here I have gathered news updates as well as op-ed about the verdict.

  • Protesters took to the streets last night in Sanford, Florida; Los Angeles; New York City; Oakland; Austin; Boston; Atlanta; Chicago; Milwaukee; and Baltimore for relatively peaceful protests and prayer vigils. In LA, protesters blocked traffic for about 20 minutes; in NYC, protesters marched in Union Square, Times Square and Harlem. [ColorlinesDemocracy Now, Raw StoryGuardian UK, New York Times]
  • President Obama issued a statement on Sunday calling for “calm reflection” in the wake of the not guilty verdict and asked Americans to reconsider gun violence: “I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. 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. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.”” [CNN]
  • Following pressure by civil rights leaders, Justice Department restarted a federal inquiry and consider separate hate crimes charges against Zimmerman. “The federal inquiry was suspended while Zimmerman’s trial took place,” according to Democracy Now. “In addition to the federal probe, Zimmerman could also face a civil lawsuit from Martin’s family.” [New York Times, Democracy Now, Clutch Magazine]
  • The gun which Zimmerman used to kill Trayvon Martin will be returned to him. An attorney for Zimmerman said his client — who wears a bulletproof vest in public — needs the gun “even more” now. [LA Times]
  • MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry did an emotional segment in which she wrote about the relief she felt when she found out during a pregnancy that she was having a girl because it meant she would worry about her child’s safety. [Think Progress]
  • This piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates on The Atlantic has been recommended to me and praised by numerous people, so if you read one piece about the Zimmerman verdict, perhaps it should be this. [The Atlantic]
  • Cord Jefferson has a piece on Gawker about arousing suspicion for being a black man who dated a white woman and how the Martin verdict told young black men what they already know: you are always considered a criminal. [Gawker]
  • Jamila Aisha Brown wrote a piece for the UK’s Guardian about how if Trayvon Martin had been a woman who had been followed around and then murdered by Zimmerman. [Guardian UK]
  • David Simon, creator of the TV show “The Wire,” wrote a heavy and intense piece on his personal blog about racism in America. “Tonight, anyone who truly understands what justice is and what it requires of a society is ashamed to call himself an American,” Simon wrote. []
  • Lauren Rankin at PolicyMic has a piece about white privilege and how she will never know what it is like to be targeted because of the color of her skin. [PolicyMic]
  • A mother named Shalimar with an 18-year-old called into Hot 97 this morning in an extremely emotional phone call about how concerned she is for her son.
  • One hundred young black activists respond to the Zimmerman acquittal. [ColorLines]
  • Gary Younge in the UK’s Guardian wrote about how it is open season for young black men after a verdict like this. [Guardian UK]
  • Here’s a piece from Jelani Cobb at The New Yorker regarding the verdict. []
  • Here’s Lawrence D. Bobo at The Root about why the Zimmerman jury failed us.[The Root]
  • David Leonard wrote a piece for Ebony imploring white people to stop denying racism exists. [Ebony]
  • The Nation’s Mychal Denze Smith made the observation that the Zimmerman defense invoked the same justification as lynching, which is to protect white womanhood. [Mediaite]

  • Here’s Veronica Wells on how she will always be hoping for the best for her country. [Veronica R Wells]
  • Christopher Darden, the prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson trial, weighed in at The Daily Beast on why he never would have brought the case to court. [The Daily Beast]

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