NAACP seeks more members, activism in wake of Zimmerman acquittal

NAACP seeks more members, activism in wake of Zimmerman acquittal

July 17th, 2013 by Yolanda Putman in Local Regional News

Henry Slayton talks about the black community's reaction to Emmett Till in comparison with the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin during an NAACP executive committee meeting Tuesday at the Glenwood Recreational Center in Chattanooga. Pastor William Ladd, local chapter vice president, outlined the official NAACP response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of Martin which will involve an inquiry into whether Martin's civil rights were violated and an examination of stand your ground laws.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.


• The Concerned Citizens for Justice will host a Justice for Trayvon National Day of Action at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Federal Building on the corner of M.L. King Boulevard and Georgia Avenue.

• NAACP general membership is $30. To join, call Eric Atkins at 423-320-8598 or visit go to

• To sign the petition, go to

NAACP leaders called for less talking and more NAACP memberships Tuesday when they met with pastors, community leaders and organizational representatives concerning George Zimmerman's acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The Florida trial of Zimmerman, a Hispanic neighborhood watch leader, for the fatal shooting of Martin, a 17-year-old black male, has generated nationwide interest and protests.

"All of us can get upset and post on Facebook, but this is a legal fight," said the Rev. William Ladd, vice president of the NAACP. "We're going to need research. We're going to need you."

Ladd asked that people join the NAACP. He asked them to not only give their membership fee, but their time and skill to assist the organization.

Some 50 people packed the meeting room at the Glenwood Recreation Center on Tuesday to discuss how to prevent more youths from being killed and ways to draw more attention to cries that Zimmerman's acquittal is an injustice.

A jury acquitted Zimmerman of manslaughter and second-degree murder after his attorneys argued that he shot Martin in self-defense.

Under the "Stand Your Ground" law, people fearing for their lives can use deadly force without retreating from a confrontation, according to news reports.

NAACP officials across the country are challenging such laws.

On Tuesday, three days after the verdict, Ladd asked everyone attending the meeting to join more than 800,000 people in signing an online petition on the NAACP's website requesting that the U.S. Department of Justice file civil rights charges against Zimmerman in the shooting.

Ladd said NAACP officials also are asking the Justice Department to examine the validity of the "Stand Your Ground" law and whether there has been an equal application of the law in each state.

The "Stand Your Ground" law has been adopted in 30 states, including Tennessee.

Award-winning singer Stevie Wonder said he would not perform in Florida or any other state or country with a "Stand Your Ground" law until it is abolished, according to news reports.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Orlando on Tuesday. He said the "Stand Your Ground" laws should be reconsidered and that those who invoke the laws should first have to try to retreat from a dangerous situation, according to The Associated Press.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at or call 423-757-6431.