Local reaction to Zimmernan verdict

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The Lifelines to Healing Campaign, a project of IndyCAN and PICO issued this statement written by Pastor Carey Grady, Pastor of Bethel AME Church following the juror's verdict of not guilty in the State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman case.

"As clergy and faith leaders, we acknowledge the deep pain that this verdict has caused and how it will exacerbate this pain among those most impacted from this incident.

While many of us believe that justice was not served, we respect the jury and believe that together we must collectively pursue justice and truth.

It's not just the guilt or innocence of Mr. Zimmerman this jury decided.

Ultimately we all stand in judgment for our collective guilt or innocence as nation – a nation that continues to target young black men as dangerous, criminal and violent.

On the count of marginalizing young black men the verdict is already in...and we as a nation are guilty.

The persistent portrayal of Trayvon Martin and other black male youth by everyday Americans and the media as violent, dangerous and as the "other" has eroded the moral character of our nation and has left us unwilling and unable to see their humanity and care about their lives.

At moments such as this, when our national attention is focused on the intersection of race and violence, our prayer is that we constructively channel our energies into solidarity around work that will demonstrate our capacity to dignify and value young black men.

This verdict shows that Justice must be a collective effort that belongs to the people. The Travyon case is a prime example of a fragmented community that needs healing. Together, IndyCAN will channel our collective disappointment and pain from this verdict thru prayer, voting, and organizing. We must channel ourselves work with our civic leaders to create safer communities through sensible gun laws and the re-implementation of the Indianapolis Violence Reduction Partnership – a proven strategy to save lives. We must channel ourselves into work for Jobs not Jails by creating economic opportunity, ban unjust hiring practices that target returning and aspiring citizens, building career ladders and mass transit to good jobs, and other measures to keep youth of color from filling up our jails and prison and into family sustaining jobs.

As voices of moral authority, it's past time for clergy and religious leaders to move beyond simply encouraging their congregations to act, but to step down from the pulpit and lead by example to ensure all of God's children are alive and free, whether they're black, brown or white; wearing a hoody or a business suit.

We are calling on clergy and people of faith to participate in ‘Hoody Sabbaths' this weekend and next to stand for justice.

In the final analysis, it's not about the verdict, it's about our collective values."


While citizens of a Democracy must accept the outcome of a judicial system that works more often than not, there is nonetheless a feeling of grave disappointment that the circumstances of and evidence presented in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was not compelling enough for this jury to render a guilty verdict.

Our prayers go out to the family of Trayvon. Not even a conviction would erase their pain. We can only imagine their angst in the wake of a 'not guilty' verdict. However difficult, we trust God to guide them through the storm.

We pray for peaceful acceptance of the verdict across the nation. Rather than confrontational responses, those disappointed must instead channel that energy to push for the abolition of laws that justify conditions that provide too large a margin for error for individuals to justify taking another person's life.

Finally, we pray for ongoing dialogue and heightened sensitivity to matters of race and other divisive elements in a society far stronger when people of all orientations discover common ground and work together, celebrating their diversity while appreciating their own and every other culture.


Statement from President Maggie A. Lewis, Indianapolis City-County Council

"Tonight, I along with a lot of you are absolutely shocked and totally disappointed about the verdict of not guilty in the death of Trayvon Martin. As a mother of a young son this decision hurts my soul. My prayers are with Trayvon's family who will have to live with this verdict as a constant reminder of this tragedy."

"I ask the City of Indianapolis to stay peaceful and deter from violence and rioting. We must use words rather than weapons to show the world our disappointment in this decision and make every effort to protect our youth."