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4:03 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Activists Gather Downtown For Peaceful Protest In Aftermath Of Trayvon Martin Verdict

Attendees were encouraged to turn their outrage into action today at a rally held downtown today to create awareness of injustice and racial profiling stemming from the not guilty verdict of the Trayvon Martin case. The verdict was handed down Saturday.

Jamala Rogers is co-chairwoman of the Coalition Against Police Crime and Repression and was one of many community leaders present today. She says that by channeling the community’s outrage into action, there can be fewer court cases and injustices that resemble those of Trayvon Martin.

“Part of what we want to do is to develop some cohesion around a programmatic thrust to impact the institutions in this city that impact young black males and African Americans in general. The more that we get organized – I think the outcomes are going to be much better,” she says.

The peaceful protest saw representatives from MIRA, the Organization for Black Struggle and the Universal African Peoples Organization, who are seeking to call attention locally and nationally to not just the case for Trayvon Martin, but to fairness and justice for other minorities.

Montague Simmons, chairperson for the Organization for Black Struggle, says Martin’s case speaks strongly to issues of racial profiling in St. Louis.

“There’s a tendency in our community to criminalize black people, which means more often by people in the community and by police they get criminalized, profiled and often persecuted,” he says. “In Trayvon’s case, he was executed, no different than Oscar Grant, no different than so many others.”

Similar protests have taken place across the country in recent days this week in reaction to the verdict.

Community leaders and other groups will organize again Saturday at Blank Space on Cherokee Street.

Follow Erin Williams on Twitter: @STLPR_Erin