SANFORD — After a six-day march from Jacksonville, roughly 50 protesters spent Saturday in Sanford, calling attention to what they say is an unjust verdict in the George Zimmerman trial and a racially based criminal-justice system.
The diverse group of protesters came from across the South, upset with the July 13 not-guilty verdict in Zimmerman's trial and about the outcome of a different case in North Florida — a black woman in Jacksonville who was sent to prison for a shooting that injured no one.
State Attorney Angela Corey's Jacksonville-based office handled both cases.
- Zimmerman Trial Photo Galleries
- Interactive Timeline: Key events in the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case
- Pictures: Key players in the case against George Zimmerman
- Pictures: George Zimmerman's many faces
- Pictures: Trayvon Martin through the years
- Pictures: George Zimmerman released on bail
See more photos »
- Jacksonville (Duval, Florida)
- George Zimmerman
- Trayvon Martin
Sanford, FL, USA
Zimmerman, the Sanford Neighborhood Watch volunteer, was found not guilty in the murder of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old teen from South Florida, a finding that set off protests across the country.
The Jacksonville woman, Marissa Alexander, fired a gun into a wall during a domestic dispute with her husband and was sentenced to two decades in prison for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
"A system that can lock up Marissa Alexander, but let a man who killed a child go free is enough of an example that something needs to change," said The Ordinary People Society Pastor Kenneth Glasgow, of Alabama.
Marchers said Alexander's case is an example of how black women and other marginalized people are unfairly criminalized, prosecuted and incarcerated by the United States judicial system.
"We don't want to change the law, we want to change the system," said Dream Defender member Estefania Galvis of Jacksonville.
Protesters see Corey as a prime example of the unjust system, which is why they are calling for her resignation.
"Both of our demands speak loudly to the fact that the justice department is unable to serve our communities," said Southerners On New Ground organizer Mary Hooks of Atlanta.
"We need a movement that is wide enough and large enough to hold us all."
Corey's office released a statement in response to the call for her resignation.
"State Attorney Angela Corey will continue to pursue justice for the citizens of the Fourth Judicial Circuit."
Although marchers hope their demands are met, they are also focused on the future.
"We're not expecting the justice system, as it is now, to give us anything," Hooks said. "But we are building collective power so we can make collective change."
The next step toward the transformation protesters hope to inspire is the Southern Movement Assembly from Aug. 28 to 31 where they will "call on stakeholders of the South to strategize long-term how to create a social justice movement," Hooks said.
The location of the assembly has yet to be determined, but marchers told Sanford community members about it while walking through the Goldsboro and Georgetown neighborhoods Saturday.
"If I don't who will," said Niqua Douglas, of Atlanta. "Just sitting around, doing nothing makes me part of the problem and I'd rather be part of the solution."
firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-420-5620 or @jerriannOS