Protests, calls for action after Zimmerman verdict


This has been a quiet weekend in downtown Indianapolis, with no protests. In fact, pastors are calling for action, but in a much more constructive fashion than what we've seen this weekend in other cities.

In Oakland, California, protesters started fires, smashed store front windows and even smashed a police car windshield. In other cities, people dismayed by the not-guilty verdict of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin murder case took to the streets.

But here in Indianapolis, some church leaders insist people need to be outraged, but just as much about what's happening with violence within the black community. One local pastor hopes the Zimmerman case will help people take a better look at problems closer to home.

At the Barnes United Methodist Church Sunday morning, the choir's harmony blended with the discord over the Zimmerman verdict nearly a thousand miles away.

Joan Hill said, "I think it's awful."

"I thought the legal system did its job. Did I like the verdict? No," said Lloyd Anderson.

"I know that a lot of you are upset about what happened last night," explained Reverend Charles Harrison pastor of Barnes United Methodist Church.

Reverend Harrison didn't mince words as he crafted his Sunday sermon around the outcome of controversial trial by suggesting there was no outrage over the recent violence in Indianapolis.

"Are we saying as a community when a black person kills a black person it is acceptable but when a white person kills a black person then it's not acceptable is that what we are saying now? IF we don't value black life then how do you expect the broader community to value black life if we don't value black life," he said.

Harrison, who leads the ten point coalition said now is the time the community needs to take a serious look at what's happening, "The family has broken down the structure in our community our children now are raising ourselves in the streets."

Seventeen-year-old James Spells said he thinks Trayvon Martin's death is tragic, but also said it shouldn't spark more violence in the country, "No one knows what happened unless you were there. I think God will handle it."

Reverend Harrison is hoping this verdict serves as a call to action to address the violence in our own community. He's asking for adults to volunteer their time, walk the streets to help keep them safe during next weeks Summer celebration.

Other groups are calling for "hoodie Sabbaths" - for people to wear hooded sweatshirts, just as Trayvon Martin was wearing when he was shot.  Some consider the protest a way to call attention to the profiling of young black men.