By Laura Coburn
In the wake of the Trayvon Martin case, people across the nation from all walks of life have been putting their foot down in protest. Those upset by the acquittal of George Zimmerman for shooting and killing Martin are taking a stand for social justice in hopes of instigating societal change and potentially bringing Zimmerman back to the courts.
In Houston, there have been demonstrations in front of Houston City Hall and even in the middle of Highway 288. And community leaders are continuing to organize peaceful events to create purposeful dialogue and voice their concerns and ideas.
Tonight, July 19th, National Black United Front will host an open forum at SHAPE Community Center to discuss the aftermath of the Martin case and the next steps in the community’s fight for justice. The meeting is open to the public and invites people of all backgrounds to voice their opinions. There will be various representatives from community organizations present, including Chairman Kofi Taharka of the National Black United Front.
Tomorrow, Saturday, July 20, there will be a peaceful protest organized nationally by Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network (NAN). The organizations are planning simliar rallies across the nation to encourage the U.S. Department of Justice to take a stand. The Houston rally is being organized by the regional NAN representative, Bishop James Dixon, as well as local “pastors, community, civic leaders and elected officials,” according to the event Facebook page.
Houston community activist Quanell X will lead another peaceful march through River Oaks, one of Houston’s most affluent neighborhoods, in opposition of the verdict this Sunday, July 21st. And to add to all the controversy, there will be another protest taking place—a counter protest.
“For many years young black men from the traditional Fourth Ward were told to don’t even go toward River Oaks,” Quanell X said, according to a Houston Chronicle report. “I can’t think of a better community in Houston to (demonstrate to) bring down the pernicious image of African American men and to stop racial profiling.”
But that community will be seeing more than just one demonstration. A recently formed group, G. Zimmerman River Oaks Stand Your Ground, has planned to represent the opposing side in support of Zimmerman on that same Sunday. The Facebook event page encourages people to bring U.S., Texas, and even rebel flags and carry their concealed weapon license if bringing a gun. The creator of the page Jon Smith posted, “Let’s show these useful idiots that we won’t take their ignorant propaganda! Remember we need to stay composed and peaceful…” The event will convene at 3 p.m. at the Lamar High School parking lot and surrounding lots.
Though both demonstrations intend to be peaceful, Houston Police Department will be present for security purposes.