The rally was one of several being planned in the Atlanta area, and it traveled from the Five Points MARTA station to the CNN Center. Demonstrations were planned around the country.
Protesters also took to the streets of downtown Atlanta in the early Sunday morning hours after a judge in Sanford, Fla., announced that 29-year-old Zimmerman had been cleared.
Zimmerman has claimed that Martin, who was unarmed, attacked him and the shooting was an act of self-defense.
“I came out today because a great deal of injustice has been done and I’m very disappointed at our justice system; I’m just disappointed in America,” Tabatha Holley, 19, of Atlanta said as a crowd of about 75 protesters chanted and carried signs near Centennial Olympic Park.
“I think it’s unfair, and I’m afraid for my future black sons. I’m very afraid for them — that I won’t be able to raise them in a diverse community.”
Some protesters wore hooded sweaters in the 80-degree heat — similar to what Martin was wearing when he was shot — and carried cans of iced tea and bags of Skittles, which Martin was carrying when he was killed.
Word of the rally spread quickly via social media sites on Sunday, with demonstrators using the Twitter hashtag “#MarchForTrayvonATL” to tell others about the rally and to share photos.
Local and state politicians issued statements after the verdict was read expressing dismay with the jury’s decision, and hope that it would start discussions on the intersection of race and justice.
“It seems to justify the stalking and killing of innocent black boys and deny them any avenue of self-defense,” U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-GA, said of the verdict. “On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, I think it demonstrates the distance this nation still must go to fulfill the vision of equal justice Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life to defend.”
In a statement, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said he didn’t agree with the verdict but must respect it.
“I find it troubling that a 17-year-old cannot walk to a corner store for candy without putting his life in danger,” he said. “I find it more troubling that a citizen could not see a young African-American youth without immediately concluding that he was up to no good.”