Deanna Cherry 43 from Los Angeles, strategic planning consultant:
“We wanted to be together with people who were upset about what happened today (crying) because the system we have doesn’t work for us. So we have to work together to figure out new strategies so that we can… there’s a sense of regression that’s happening in the country and this is just [saying] we’re not ready as a country to step forward.”
Adria Buchanan, 27 from Los Angeles:
“I got a text message about the verdict. Me and my friend were listening to KJLH, listening to callers on the radio and they told us that at this time what we can do is protest. [They said] not to riot or anything else but to come together as a community and at least show [that we’re] not supporting the verdict. I’m heated. I’m very upset. I was shocked and I was really saddened because I was one of those people who thought, ‘we have moved past this.’ We’ve had enough blatantly biased verdicts and that our justice system had gotten better.
“I was asking my friend, ‘what is Zimmerman not guilty of? What did he not do? Because, he did kill somebody. He did admit to doing it. His actions and the evidence was there that the prosecution failed to bring out is that he didn’t do it for self defense. And if he did, his ‘self defense’ was motivated by so much racism that it can’t even classify as self defense. That’s just being ignorant and scared. That’s like a xenophobia. It’s him not knowing how to react to his own issues against Trayvon, not even as an individual but just as a black person…”
LaMeisha Randall, 26 from Los Angeles:
“It makes me feel sad. It hurt because it’s like, ‘how could he just get off like that,’ you know. That’s somebody’s son. If they made [Zimmerman] feel like he was able to get off then, other people will do it.”
Jasmine Lopez, 3:
“I’m here because my partner is African American and growing up, my parents have always instilled in me not to see color. I think being a Latina in the community, I am also a minority. I think… I mean I have so many words but at the same time I’m at a loss for words about what happened today. I think in 2013 we are so behind in time. I still feel that there is racism in the United States. It is so sad that we are all standing here, instead of celebrating… it should be all different races all up in here. Instead we are standing here disappointed and ashamed at the justice system.”
Glenn Ponton from Carson, Ca,:
“I’m frustrated about the verdict. I’ve been watching the verdict all morning, trying to understand. Basically, I said, “the situation is, you can’t come out with a verdict that says not guilty because a person is dead. You obviously did the murder and that’s why you’re on trial. Now, [that’s] telling me, you don’t even have the right to defend yourself. The kid didn’t have a weapon.
“You called 911. You called and said you followed this individual. You admitted to shooting and killing this individual. So, what does a person of color in America have to do to protect himself other than arm himself?
Now we got this thing, ‘turn in your guns…’ don’t turn a damn thing in.”
Linda Jay, activist/ author, 56: “I’m a trial watcher so I was on my way to Florida to be down there when the verdict was read. I just got justice for my own child. She was shot down by gang members here six years ago and I just got justice two months ago. So I know what Trayvon Martin’s family is going through.
I’m very heartbroken at the fact that this man can hunt down, shoot and murder a Black kid, lie about it and get away with it. They said the sidewalk was his weapon. How is that. Now, a Black boy can walk down the street with nothing in his hand and a White man can say, he had the sidewalk.”