Crowds chanted, "Justice! Justice!" as they rallied in dozens of U.S. cities Saturday, urging authorities to change self-defense laws and press federal civil rights charges against a former neighborhood watch leader found not guilty in the shooting death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin.
The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network organized the "Justice for Trayvon" rallies and vigils outside federal buildings in at least 101 cities one week after a jury delivered the verdict for George Zimmerman in Martin's 2012 death in a gated central Florida community.
"No justice! No peace!" participants chanted. Some sang hymns, prayed and held hands. Many held signs. In Los Angeles, one read "This is Amerikka: From Dred Scott to Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin, black people have no rights that white people are bound to respect.
The case has become a flashpoint in separate but converging national debates over self-defense, guns, and race relations. Zimmerman, who successfully claimed that he was protecting himself when he shot Martin, identifies himself as Hispanic. Martin was black.
In New York, hundreds of people -- including Martin's mother, Syrbrina Fulton, and music superstars Jay-Z and Beyonce -- gathered in the heat.
Fulton told the crowd she was determined to fight for changes needed to ensure that black youths are no longer viewed with suspicion because of their skin color.
"I promise you I'm going to work for your children as well," she told the crowd.