Two days after George Zimmerman was found not guilty in Trayvon Martin's shooting death, the initial grief among supporters of the dead teen is being channeled into protests, marches and calls for action echoing across the country.
In Florida, elected officials, civil rights leaders and community organizers are pushing harder for U.S. Department of Justice to continue its investigation into possible civil rights violations against Zimmerman, the 29-year-old Neighborhood Watch volunteer who killed the unarmed 17-year-old in Feb. 2012.
Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder Saturday night to the dismay of more than 100 demonstrators outside the Seminole County Courthouse and thousands more in New York, San Francisco, Oakland, Atlanta and Miami.
The movement, leaders say, is only beginning to build.
"The response is coming, believe me," said Rev. Randolph Bracy Jr., former president of the Orange County branch of the NAACP, which is holding its national convention — with 4,000 in attendance — in Orlando this week. "We believe in this country that we are a nation of laws but the rule of law has failed us miserably. We can't angry, we got to get to smart."
Bracy was in the Orange County convention hall when the verdict was read to a stunned delegation of civil rights leaders that had come to Orlando for their annual meeting.
Immediately, special meetings ensued and NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous made stern calls to action.
The DOJ on Monday afternoon appealed to civil rights groups and community leaders, nationally and in Sanford, for help investigating whether a federal criminal case might be brought against George Zimmerman, according to one advocate on the call.
Barbara Arnwine, president and executive director the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – who Monday morning joined calls for federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman — said later in the day that she joined a DOJ conference call to discuss the prospects.
"They were calling on us to actively refer anyone who had any information," that might build a case against Zimmerman for either a civil rights violation or a hate crime, Arnwine said. "They said they would very aggressively investigate this case."
Arnwine said the call was convened by Tom Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, and included representatives from the FBI, and several federal prosecutors, she said. DOJ officials also said they would open an email address later this week, so people could send in tips on the case.
Justice officials did not respond to an email seeking comment late Monday.
In addition to Arnwine's group, Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Laura Murphy, Washington Chapter head of the ACLU; and several national, Florida and Sanford-based "human relations" groups participated, Arnwine said.
Also Monday, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said a speech at the social action luncheon of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, that he shares concerns about "the tragic, unnecessary shooting death" of Trayvon Martin last year, and he vowed to pursue a federal investigation into the matter, the Washington Post reported.
Holder pledged that the Justice Department would work to "alleviate tensions, address community concerns and promote healing" in response to the case. He is scheduled to appear at the NAACP conference Tuesday.
Congresswoman Corrine Brown was one of several politicians that decried a system she said metes out justice unequally to people of color and sanctions crimes with "stand your ground" laws like the one in Florida.
Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Brown, in a statement Monday, said "'The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.' However it's not going to bend until everyone gets involved and becomes active in the fight for equality and equal protection under the law."
An NAACP online petition garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures in the wake of the verdict from people who want the U.S. Department of Justice bring federal civil rights charges on Zimmerman.
Meanwhile, national leaders, media personalities and celebrities have taken to traditional and social media urging demonstrators to remain peaceful and keep their message targeted.
Bracy's wife, LaVon Wright Bracy, who was among the first black students to integrate Gainesville schools in 1965, said most leaders recognize getting federal charges is an "uphill battle." But she said the case has energized people around serious issues and she plans to encourage her community to monitor more closely what happens in the state's legislature.
"The real ammunition we have is to register as many people as we can at the ballot box," Bracy said. "We have to change who represents us in Tallahassee."
The momentum is building.
•The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network called on clergymen Monday to hold vigils outside federal court buildings in their communities at noon Saturday. Central Florida NAN chapter president Lawanna Gelzer said they are still working out the details of the vigil for the Orlando-area event but will demonstrate in solidarity with ministers elsewhere in the country.
•Central Florida NAN has a community forum planned for Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Denton Johnson Community Center in Eatonville to discuss the verdict and the issues it touches.
•A "March Against Gun Violence" is scheduled for Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Lake Eola and organized by the Modarres law firm. The firm has applied for a loudspeaker permit from the city but it is unclear who will speak or what will take place, officials said.
•The Coalition for Justice for Trayvon — a group of Florida college students and community organizers — plan to storm the capitol Tuesday with their demands to create a "new America."
Bracy predicted people who were reticent about getting involved before the trial will be motivated to try and correct this "travesty of the highest order."