On Springfield

Rally Over Zimmerman Verdict Tonight

There’ll be a candlelight vigil and rally at Court Square this evening to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin and to call on the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue civil-rights violation charges against Zimmerman.

The vigil, sponsored by the Springfield NAACP, AWAKE, the Political Action Council of Greater Springfield and state Rep. Ben Swan, begins at 7:45 p.m. Attendees are asked to bring candles and bags of Skittles, which will be sent to the Justice Department.

The Rev. Talbert Swan II, president of the city’s NAACP branch, was in central Florida over the weekend attending the annual NAACP national convention in Orlando—ironically, not far from the Sanford, Fla., courthouse where Zimmerman was tried. After the verdict, Swan released a statement announcing an NAACP petition drive calling on the Justice Department to file civil-rights charges against Zimmerman.

“The most fundamental of civil rights—the right to life—was violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life of Trayvon Martin,” the petition reads in part. “We ask that the Department of Justice file civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman for this egregious violation. Please address the travesties of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin by acting today.”

© 2014 The Valley Advocate