A mixture of sadness, resolve and, at times, anger permeated through a non-violent crowd that spilled from the steps in front of the St. Louis Justice Center into Tucker Ave. in front of City Hall.
The mood at the rally held in downtown St. Louis on Sunday night echoed through similar events in cities and towns across America, as people gathered to voice their disappointment over the acquittal of George Zimmerman for all charges in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.
Mark Fredericks, like many who marched on a sticky summer evening, said the verdict is proof that the scales of American justice are tipped against minorities and the poor.
“I don’t know exactly what we need to do to fix the problem, but the system isn’t working the way it should be,” Fredericks said. “We just need more compassion, more love, we've got to stop shooting people.”
A spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri told demonstrators to expect a follow up event this week at the Old Courthouse.
Democratic Mo. State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed led parts of the rally and said she cried when she heard the news that George Zimmerman had been acquitted of all murder charges.
She said more has to be done to keep African American males from dying before their time.
“The message is this, enough is enough, we should not continue to tolerate the death and destruction of young black men here, not at the hands of themselves, not at the hands of the law, and not at the hands of neighborhood watchmen,” Nasheed said.
Nasheed and many other speakers at the rally said race played a role in Zimmerman’s acquittal.
The U.S. Justice Department said on Sunday that it will review the case for possible civil rights violations.