By AP and Staff Reports
More than 200 Atlanta area residents will travel to Sanford, Fla., to join the nation in the call for justice in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman.
Zimmerman, who followed Martin before killing him, has not been charged in the Feb. 26 shooting. Zimmerman said he shot Martin, who was returning to a gated community after buying candy at a convenience store, in self-defense.
Organized by former Atlanta City Councilman and community activist Derrick Boazman, Atlanta area residents will join the Rev. Al Sharpton for a massive rally Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the First Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Sanford.
Those traveling to Sanford will gather at First Iconium Baptist Church, 542 Moreland Avenue S.E. at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 22, for a local rally and prayer session before departing at 6:30 a.m. from the church.
Speakers at First Iconium Baptist Church will include State Sen. Vincent Fort, the Rev. Timothy McDonald, community activist Derrick Boazman, the Rev. Derrick Rice, Attorney Mawuli Davis and National Action Network President Marcus Coleman.
“We are traveling to Florida to not only call for justice in the shooting of this innocent young man, but we are traveling there to support and comfort his mother, father and entire family,” Boazman said. “During the journey to Sanford we will have a rolling town hall meeting talking about the issues confronting Black men and the issues of racism and racial profiling that are still very much prevalent today.”
Civil rights leaders nationally and in Florida declared a victory Tuesday night in getting federal and state officials to investigate the case but are continuing to pressure authorities to make an arrest in the death of the unarmed Black teenager last month.
“We are pleased the Department of Justice has heeded our calls and agreed to investigate this outrageous case,” Benjamin Jealous, national president of the NAACP said in an emailed statement Tuesday, March 20. “The rules of justice in this nation have failed when an innocent teenage boy can be shot to death by a vigilante and no arrest is made for weeks.”
For more information on Thursday’s rally in Atlanta and Florida call Derrick Boazman at 404-246-8001. An online petition urging local authorities to prosecute Zimmerman had drawn more than 700,000 signatures at the website Change.org as of early Wednesday.