Rally in Iowa City Following Zimmerman Verdict

By Alison Sullivan and Forrest Saunders, Reporters

A group of citizens gather to protest the not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman on the pedestrian mall on Sunday, July, 14, 2013 in Iowa City, Iowa. Around 30 people gathered and shared their views on the verdict. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)

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By Katie Stinson

IOWA CITY, Iowa - The beat of a drum could be heard throughout the Iowa City Pedestrian Mall accompanied by voices shouting, “No justice. No Peace.”

“We’re here because we’re pissed,” shouted Kelly Gallagher to the crowd of roughly 30 people.

Iowa City residents rallied together Sunday evening to share their thoughts on the verdict of the George Zimmerman trial released on Saturday, July 15.

“There’s a little bit of healing to be done and a community getting together is better than sitting in front of your computer on Facebook,” said Stephany Hoffelt, on of the rally organizers.

Zimmerman was found not guilty for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in February 2012. Rallies sprung up soon after Martin's death, including a hoodie march in Iowa City.

Following the weekend's verdict, people across the nation expressed dissatisfaction with justice system and what they say was the targeting of a young African-American.

Johnson County Supervisor Janelle Rettig said the incident reinforces the need for better gun laws in the country.

“I think gun violence in our society has gotten to the point where everyone needs to speak out against it,” Rettig said. “Where young men with skittles walking home can get murdered and there's no justice for him and his family. I think it’s a testament to the troubling times in our society."

Alison Oliver sat on a concrete planter in the Pedestrian Mall with her 14-year-old daughter and other rally participants. Oliver said as someone who has black family members, the rally is personal for her and she feels "it's really scary not to be able to protect them."

Oliver said she hopes the rally brings together a lasting community effort on the discussion of violence.

“I’m hoping energy comes out of people’s outrage and confusion and can be redirected to create some meaningful change in our community,” she said.
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