ATLANTA — The George Zimmerman not guilty verdict on murder and manslaughter raised the cultural heat index to levels matching the scorching heatwave blanketing the nation in misery and unrest.
Rallies, protests and even a few riots have sprouted in major cities from New York and Washington to Los Angeles and San Francisco that have lead to some arrests over the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. But more than a thousand people braved a series of violent thunderstorms and flooding to attend a town hall meeting at Mt. Ephraim Baptist Church Wednesday night in Atlanta.
Speakers included Attorney Daryl Parks the family attorney of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed 17-year-old killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in February 2012. Parks talked about the Martin case and answered questions from listeners about everything from stand your ground law to the possibility of a civil law suit against George Zimmerman.
“We don’t want any violent protest,” Parks said in an exclusive interview with rolling out. “As soon as violence takes places, that becomes the headline. People who want to be supportive of this movement and to preserve and defense Trayvon’s legacy, don’t be violent. That’s what the family (Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin) want us to do.”
Parks, who worked alongside the more conspicuous Benjamin Crump in representing the family of Trayvon Martin during this tumultuous ordeal the past 18 months, said there are several important lessons to be weaned from a divisive case that has dominated national news for the past month:
1. “First, serve on juries.”
2. “Work to change the laws that make make the standard so low for self defense-type situations.”
3. “Also, to sit down and have a very strong lesson with your children about how to conduct themselves when presented with certain situations. Talk them through it, on how to deal with it.”
Elder Bernice King, CEO of the King Center elicited a rousing ovation by preaching to that it’s beyond time for the black community to take ownership and stop being just consumers.
State Representative Vincent Fort has joined the loud national chorus calling for a repeal of the Georgia’s Stand Your Ground Law and similar laws in other states.
The program was hosted by V103’s Ryan Cameron and Mo Ivory of the “Ryan Cameron Morning Show” in conjunction with Lorraine Jacques White and Derrick Boazman of News and Talk 1380 WAOK.
Organizers of this town hall meeting and local civic leaders said the event is the beginning of a series of seminars to improve family relationships, educational strategies and mentoring opportunities for young people in the Atlanta Metro area. Organizers said they hoped offering alternatives to violent protests in light of the Zimmerman verdict would provide other young black teens a different way to express their feelings about what most urbanites decry as a flagrantly unjust in the George Zimmerman case.