Trayvon hoodie: The acquittal of a white vigilante accused of killing a young black man in Florida reopened racial stigma in the United States, where President Barack Obama called for calm, when thousands of people rejected the ruling. New protests in 100 cities in the United States are scheduled for next Saturday. “There will be demonstrations in 100 cities on Saturday against federal offices to pressure the government to protect our civil rights,” said Al Sharpton, leader of the struggle for these rights. According to a report from Gospel Herald on July 15, a host of African-American churches declared Sunday’s services as “Hoodie Sunday.” Pastors and congregants wore hoodies to honor Trayvon Martin.
Thousands took to the streets and over the weekend in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta, among other cities, to protest against the controversial verdict reached by a jury of six women (five white and one Hispanic) who stated neighborhood guard George Zimmerman, 29, was not guilty of the death of teenager Trayvon Martin, 17. Parents of young Trayvon Martin, absent for the verdict, called for peaceful demonstrations quoting Martin Luther King and the Bible.
The trial ended Saturday in Sanford, Florida, and it divided the nation from those who believe that Zimmerman acted in self-defense and those who think it was a racially motivated murder against Trayvon. Zimmerman was accused of chasing and shooting at Martin, who was unarmed, during an altercation on the night of February 26, 2012.
President Obama had to call for calm following the outbreak of protests. “I know this case has aroused intense passions. Know these passions could intensify. But we’re a nation of law and a jury has spoken,” Obama said in a statement to appease. Obama added that while the country digests the events, the public must ask if it is “doing everything possible to extend “compassion and understanding” within their own communities in the United States. The verdict on Saturday was applauded, however, for all those who support the law known as “Stand your ground,” which allows the use of weapons to those who feel threatened. In Florida, for now, the people have reacted calmly.
In churches on Sunday, sermons included messages of peace and called to follow the fight for justice in the corresponding instances. Valerie Houston, an influential pastor of Allen Chapel AME Church in Goldsboro, a predominantly black neighborhood of Sanford, quoted Martin Luther King in her sermon by saying: remember that “violence begets violence.” But Houston said that with this ruling “the daily life of my people are still enslaved by white supremacist society.”