Joining Saturday’s nationwide “Justice for Trayvon” rallies, protestors took to Oakland streets calling for federal civil rights charges to be filed against George Zimmerman.
This time they were joined by students and union organizers.
Billed as a family friendly march, organizers for the Oakland protests invited families and seniors to join the rally with a Facebook page that read, “If you can’t stay peaceful, stay home!”
The attempt to keep the protests nonviolent comes in contrast to rallies earlier in the week that turned violent and left businesses in downtown Oakland vandalized with broken windows.
Today’s rally coordinates with 100 U.S. cities in the “Justice for Trayvon National Day of Action” headed by Rev. Al Sharpton. By 1 p.m., more than 200 protestors were estimated to be outside Oakland’s federal court building on Clay Street.
Activists are angry about the verdict in the Zimmerman trial in which Zimmerman, a Florida neighborhood watch captain, was found not guilty of killing Martin, an unarmed teenager.
Justin Jones, “Student March for Peace and Justice” organizer, called for youth across the Bay Area to converge at the federal building to call for social change. In a press release, he said:
“As youth, we are our greatest advocates. We are armed with an unparalleled wealth of passion and knowledge, and ultimately we must be the ones to change our communities.”
Bay Area union organizer Sara Steffens helped organize a “Moms March,” where families made signs and walked to Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building. There, they met up with the student protestors.
Steffens explained the cause in an email:
“It’s not strictly union-related but as our new motto holds: There’s only one social justice movement and we’re all a part of it.”
The nationwide rallies come on the heels of Friday’s statement by President Barack Obama, where he identified with the victim during his first televised response to the verdict:
“Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”