Washington, D.C. - Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (The National Coalition) and convener, Black Women's Roundtable, issued the following statement on Trayvon Martin and the Zimmerman verdict:
As we process the unfortunate not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman regarding the tragic killing of Trayvon Martin we, must first lift up and commend his parents who have endured this heartbreaking ordeal with grace and class. Our prayers go out to Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton for the loss of their beloved son, and now this decision.
Trayvon was an innocent teenager returning home from purchasing candy and tea. It's bad enough to suffer the loss of a son, but it's unacceptable for them to have to sit and witness a trial where people try to denigrate their son's name. We must be vigilant in our efforts to seek justice for Trayvon and his family, but also, honor his life by making sure this does not happen to any other teenager.
The National Coalition and Black Women's Roundtable joins with The National Urban League, National Action Network, NAACP, National Council of La Raza and others asking the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to pursue a federal criminal civil rights investigation.
We are urging the DOJ to examine the civil rights violations we believe were committed by George Zimmerman in connection with the death of Trayvon Martin, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
In the wake of this verdict and the recent Supreme Court decision to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act there is a renewed fervor to mobilize for the 50th Anniversary March on Washington (50th MOW) to advocate for jobs, justice, peace and freedom.
The 50th MOW Commemoration is being organized by Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King, III in partnership with A. Philip Randolph Institute, NAACP, National Urban League, SCLC, National Council of Negro Women, The National Coalition, The King Center, American Federation of Teachers, SEIU, AFSCME, CWBI, National African American Clergy, National Organization for Women, National Congress of Black Women, LCCR, HRC, NBJC and others on August 21 - 28, 2013 in Washington, DC. For more information on the 50th MOW Commemoration go to www.ncbcp.org.
We encourage everyone who stands in solidarity with us in recognizing the miscarriage of justice that occurred with this verdict to let your voice be heard through peaceful protest, advocacy and continued prayers for justice to be served for Trayvon Martin and his family.
When an innocent teenager can be stalked and killed and his killer is not found guilty of any crime we must wake up and TAKE ACTION NOW. We cannot sit idly by and watch the civil rights and social justice gains made over the past 50 years erode. Remember, we are all Trayvon Martin.