Surrounded by Over 25 Leading National Ministers in Front of the Justice Department, Rev. Al Sharpton Calls on the DOJ to Engage in an Aggressive Civil Rights Investigation of the Trayvon Martin Case
July 16, 2013 (Washington, D.C.)—Rev. Al Sharpton, President of National Action Network (NAN), led a press conference in front of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) today attended by over 25 Ministers, calling upon the DOJ to engage in an aggressive civil rights investigation of the Trayvon Martin case. Rev. Sharpton announced that he and NAN will have a three-day revival conference next week July 23-25 in Miami, Florida, at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, the church led by NAN's Southeast Regional Chairman, Bishop Victor Curry.
NAN is planning a statewide drive against the Florida "Stand Your Ground" law that was responsible for a lot of what happened in the Trayvon Martin case and verdict. NAN will use Florida as the testing ground to challenge and change the Stand Your Ground laws in 29 states.
Rev. Sharpton further announced that NAN will deal with those corporations that still support ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), the controversial corporate-sponsored lobbying group that are major supporters of Stand Your Ground laws. Coming out of NAN's conference, those companies may face customer withdrawal and NAN intends to fight legislatively, judicially and possibly economically. According to Rev. Al Sharpton: "If we don't change the Stand Your Ground laws, we risk having more Trayvon Martin cases because the law emboldens people."
Finally, Rev. Sharpton will address the NAACP national conference tomorrow and the National Urban League conference and will challenge both organizations to join National Action Network in this pursuit. NAN is organizing "Justice for Trayvon" vigils in 100 cities across the country on Saturday, July 20th to press the federal government to investigate civil rights charges against George Zimmerman. Hundreds of national preachers, led by Rev. Al Sharpton and NAN will hold prayer vigils and rallies in front of federal buildings calling on the Justice Department to investigate the civil rights violations made against Trayvon Martin. Over two-hundred ministers participated in a conference call on Sunday evening and are pushing congregants to register in various cities at www.nationalactionnetwork.net.
Rev. Sharpton and NAN have increased national mobilization efforts for the Saturday, August 24th National Action to Realize the Dream March on Washington that he and Martin Luther King, III, are leading. Fifty years after the 1963 March on Washington, Voting Rights, and the Justice for Trayvon Martin movement are key civil rights rallying issues and NAN is escalating the call for the Department of Justice to investigate whether George Zimmerman committed civil rights violations against Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012. According to Rev. Sharpton: "Trayvon Martin had the civil right to go home. He was not doing anything wrong."
On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, July 14th, Rev. Al Sharpton discussed going to Sanford, Florida, in 2012, with Trayvon Martin's parents and Attorney Benjamin Crump to meet with the U.S. Attorney, and they asked for civil rights charges to be pursued at that time. The Department of Justice decided to wait until after the state trial to decide whether to go forward. Rev. Sharpton is now calling on the Justice Department to complete a full investigation and will send a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder that will be signed by himself, Melanie Campbell, (National Coalition on Black Civic Participation), Marc Morial (National Urban League), and Benjamin Todd Jealous (NAACP) to resume the filing of civil rights charges that the family of Trayvon Martin and Rev. Al Sharpton initially met in Florida with a U.S. Attorney about.
The August 24th, 50th Anniversary National Action to Realize the Dream March will focus on voting rights and ending state laws like Stand your Ground and Stop and Frisk, among other issues. It will be the first national march since the acquittal of George Zimmerman. According to Rev. Al Sharpton and NAN, Dr. King's dream has been undermined by both the Supreme Court Voting Rights decision and the acquittal of George Zimmerman.