Albany, N.Y. – One week after a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in the death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin, locals will join a nationwide effort to press for federal civil rights charges against the former neighborhood watch leader outside of the Federal Courthouse in downtown Albany Saturday.
The vigil, which will be held at noon at 445 Broadway, is one among 100 to be held across the country calling for a federal investigation into the case.
The decision has become a point of dissention since its announcement, yielding highly-contested debate over self-defense laws, gun rights and the role race plays in the justice system.
Organized by the National Action Network, these rallies are designed to draw attention to the sentiment of some, who believe racism may have played a role in the ultimate decision. The "Justice for Trayvon" rallies and vigils will be held outside federal buildings in at least 101 cities nationwide, from New York to Los Angeles.
Conversations about race were stirred during the Albany Justice for Trayvon Rally, and calls for change were made through signs and voices like Robyn Ringler. Ringler says Stand Your Ground laws need to be reformed.
"They are now in 26 states and it's basically a license to kill," said Ringler.
Alice Green executive director of the Center of Law and Justice believes a push to change defense laws is the right step.
"It clearly before our society our county how damaging and dangerous these laws are. It also suggests that people don't need to think about retreating when they can," says Green.
Peaceful protesters here in Albany and across the country are also demanding federal civil rights charges for George Zimmerman but Green says its not likely to happen.
"You've got to prove that George Zimmerman was a racist and that was in his mind and thoughts as he violated someone's civil rights and its a very difficult hurdle to overcome," says Green.
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