Trayvon Martin eight days before his death (Photo: Family photo)
ATLANTA -- Atlanta's "Justice for Trayvon Martin" rally drew what appeared to be a crowd of thousands Saturday, even when a rainstorm covered the downtown area. The rally was organized as a part of 100 rallies across the country taking place at noon Saturday. It was held on the steps of the Richard B. Russell Federal Building.
"Our purpose is larger than the rain," said Ravannah Williams.
The rallies had several goals. To protest the Zimmerman acquittal last Saturday, support the Martin family, call for federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman and provoke a conversation on the treatment of black men in America.
"Both of my boys are college-educated kids," Jean Wiles said. "And still they've had the experience of being stopped on their way home from the gym, or stopped for no reason because they're wearing gym shorts."
Outside of the rallies, many other Americans accepted the verdict as the result of a case lacking abundant evidence. Former NBA star Charles Barkley said as much Friday.
"He was wrong for following Trayvon Martin, but just based on the evidence, I though the verdict was fair," Barkley said.
Extra police officers were in place in case they were needed, but the rally stayed peaceful.