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Friday, July 19, 2013

In Wake Of George Zimmerman Trial, March Set For Bowling Green, Kentucky, On Saturday.

TRAYVON MARTIN MLK planning committee to host a march

Organizers say goal is to generate discussion, support teen's family

Some members of the Bowling Green community will protest the recent verdict in a Florida shooting case and try to raise awareness about stand your ground laws during a march Saturday.
George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman in Sanford, Fla., was charged with second-degree murder in the February 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager. A jury of six women returned a not guilty verdict Saturday night.

A community March for Justice for Trayvon Martin will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Warren County Justice Center, 1001 Center St. It will end at State Street Baptist Church, 340 State St.
A short program in the church sanctuary will follow the march. The Rev. Carl E. Whitfield, pastor of Eleventh Street Baptist Church, will speak.
Van service will be available from State Street Baptist Church to the Justice Center beginning at 9:30 a.m.
The theme of the march is “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Goals of the march include showing support for the Martin family, protesting racial injustice and bringing awareness to stand-your-ground laws, said Linda Hill, president of the Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee.
“Our prayers go out to both families,” Hill said. “The Zimmerman and the Martin family.”
She said the response from people has been much bigger than originally anticipated. She expects more than 200 people at the march.
“Everything just seemed to click, click, click, which means it was the right thing to do,” Hill said.
Elements of the incident between Martin and Zimmerman are reflected in other familiar cases, including the death of Brandon Bradshaw in Bowling Green earlier this year and the death of Emmett Till in Mississippi in 1955 after he reportedly flirted with a white woman, Hill said.
Following the trial, many people are more aware of stand your ground laws than they were in the past, she said.
“It’s just an eye-opener,” Hill said.

The Bowling Green event will be one of more than 100 marches in cities around the country to protest Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict.
The event is associated with the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, said Linda McCray, a member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee. National Action Network is encouraging “Justice for Trayvon” vigils nationwide.
McCray said she hopes the event spurs discussion about the incident and stand your ground laws.
Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron said Kentucky’s stand your ground law essentially removes a person’s duty to retreat. Under the previous state laws, if a person had the ability to run away from a dangerous situation, it was their duty to do so.
“Now, as long as you’re lawfully where you are, you no longer have a duty to retreat,” Cohron said.

Florida’s statute includes “duty to retreat” language similar to Kentucky’s statute. Florida’s law states in part that “... the person is justified in the use of deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person does not have a duty to retreat if the person is in a place where he or she has a right to be.”
Many people in the community were saddened by Zimmerman’s acquittal, McCray said.
“The feelings of injustice, I think, are better shared and talked about and have a dialogue begin,” she said.
Not discussing those issues can make people feel alienated from their community, she said.

Another goal of the event is to support the Martin family, McCray said.
Whitfield said the incident involved two young men. His church tries to minister to young people and encourage them to stay out of trouble through programs such as Project No Bars, which tries to break patterns of incarceration among youth.
He said he hopes young people in the community will glean a lesson about not taking matters into their own hands unnecessarily from the situation between Martin and Zimmerman.
Following the Zimmerman verdict, people are looking for a purpose or a reason for the outcome, Whitfield said.
“The only place we’re going to find any peace or any consolation is in God’s word and God himself,” he said.

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