ATLANTA (WAOK)- While people in other cities have held rallies and protests that have lead to some arrests over the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, more than a thousand people braved a series of violent thunderstorms to attend a peaceful town hall meeting at Mt. Ephraim Baptist Church Wednesday night.
Speakers included Attorney Daryl Parks, one of the attorneys representing the family of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed teen who was killed by neighborhood watch volunteer 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 Zimmerman.
Elder Bernice King, CEO of the King Center, preached the crowd to its feet with a message that it’s time for the black community to take ownership and stop being just consumers.
The panel of civil rights organization representatives included Mary Pat Hector, the Youth Director of the National Action Network, Nancy Flake Johnson of the Urban League and local activist and poet Hank Stewart who was on hand for the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda. Each civil rights organization told the crowd what they were doing to continue to engage the young minds of today.
State Representative Vincent Fort spoke to people in attendance about his proposed repeal of Georgia’s Stand Your Ground Law. Ten minute mini-seminars facilitated by members of the “Let Us Make Man” mentoring organization covered the consequences of thug life, healing and self image and knowing the law.
And the evening was not without high drama. In the midst of a thunderstorm a videographer from a television station was slightly injured when a lightning strike landed too close to him; and a woman went into labor during the program.
This program was the kickoff to a planned monthly 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 many consider to be an unjust verdict in Zimmerman case.
– Jean Ross, CBS Local
Click the picture of Mo Ivory below for a photo gallery of the V-103/WAOK Town Hall Meeting