“If our voices can’t be heard, then this is just going to keep going on,” he said.
Earlier, at Manhattan’s Middle Collegiate Church, many congregants wore hooded sweatshirts similar to the one Martin was wearing the night he was shot. Hoodie-clad Jessica Nacinovich said she could only feel disappointment and sadness over the verdict.
“I’m sure jurors did what they felt was right in accordance with the law but maybe the law is wrong, maybe society is wrong; there’s a lot that needs fixing,” she said.
At a service in Sanford, Fla., where Zimmerman was tried, teens wearing shirts with Martin’s picture wiped away tears during a church sermon.
Protesters also gathered in Atlanta, Miami, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., along with a host of other cities.
In Miami, more than 200 people gathered. “You can’t justify murder,” read one poster. Another read “Don’t worry about more riots. Worry about more Zimmermans.”
Carol Reitner, 76, of Miami, said she heard about the vigil through an announcement at her church Sunday morning. “I was really devastated. It’s really hard to believe that someone can take the life of someone else and walk out of court free,” she said.
In Philadelphia, about 700 protesters marched through downtown to the Liberty Bell, alternating between chanting Trayvon Martin’s name and “No justice, no peace!”
“We hope this will begin a movement to end discrimination against young black men,” said Johnathan Cooper, one of the protest’s organizers. “And also to empower black people and get them involved in the system.”
In Atlanta, about 75 protesters chanted and carried signs near Centennial Olympic Park.
“I came out today because a great deal of injustice has been done and I’m very disappointed at our justice system,” said Tabatha Holley, 19, of Atlanta.
“I’m just disappointed in America.”