By Molly Daly, Syma Chowdhry
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A rally was held outside of the federal courthouse in Center City Saturday afternoon to urge the Justice Department to file civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Another rally to support Trayvon Martin was held in North Philadelphia at the Bright Hope Baptist Church on 12th street at the same time; two events with one message.
The event, part of the 100 city National Justice for Trayvon Day, drew a multiracial crowd of several hundred — including families — all gathered under a blazing sun to show solidarity, and call for an end of profiling.
“My two sons live in Lower Merion. It could’ve been them out there,” said Milton Thomas, who was there with and for his sons. “They live in a predominantly white neighborhood, and when they’re walking home, they can be profiled just like (Trayvon) was. So I just want to make sure nobody else goes through what that family just went through.”
“As an African American man, I am Trayvon. The only difference between me and him is the grace of God,” explained Tim Golden, saying it is important to get the message out because what happened to Trayvon Martin could happen again if laws are not changed and if certain social issues are not brought to light. “We haven’t addressed poverty, we haven’t addressed jobs, we haven’t addressed education, we haven’t addressed mass incarceration.”
Protestors held signs as they chanted and listened to speeches. Eventually, part of the crowd spilled into the street, blocking Market Street at 6th Street.
Pamelia Isham says racism in America is inescapable — and it needs to change.
“As a people, we need to come together and support each other, instead of being so negative, and view everybody in a negative way,” she said. “Just try to push with love and compassion first, before they go to the negativity.”
“We must continue to be visual, we must continue to litf our voices up,” said Ronald Armour, a community activist.
He says the rally is meant to inspire youth to get involved in education and politics. “This is going to be one of the solutions to make a difference in this country.”
After the rally people marched around the block near Independence Hall as tourists curiously stopped by.
Some said its very fitting for the rally to take place in the city of brotherly love.
“We are where the Independence was ratified so yes I think it’s a very good spot to hold it,” said Kay Frunzi.
Organizers hope this rally will inspire change.
“My heart is pumping with positive energy. To be a part of this and see so many people come together to make a difference in our wonderful country,” said Armour.
A march on Washington will be held on August 24th.