Sanford, Fla. -- A rally in front of the courthouse Sunday and a "Noon Prayer Day" at local churches Monday were among events scheduled here as this central Florida city began its recovery from George Zimmerman's murder trial.
The Coalition for Justice for Trayvon said it was responding to Saturday's not-guilty verdict by calling for nationwide protests Sunday. The protests, the group said in a statement, "will look toward a New America, where black and brown youth are protected by the justice system and racial oppression is ended." The coalition said the the verdict was a failure of the entire criminal justice system.
In Sanford, the rally was set for the courthouse at 3 p.m. ET. Events also were planned in cities from New York to Madison, Wis., to Los Angeles as the nation reacts to the not-guilty verdict handed down by a jury of six women in this once-quiet city.
The Sanford Pastors Connecting, an alliance of Seminole County churches formed after the shooting, said it is sponsoring the noon prayers on Monday to "assist in promoting continued peace and unity in the community."
"Our call is to pray for our community for the long term unity, peace and strength of relationships," said Rev. Charlie Holt of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lake Mary. "Our churches welcome any and all to come and offer prayer to The Lord for ourselves, for all involved and for our community."
Holt said his church was delighted to participate in the community effort. "Prayer is what it takes to continue to move forward in our ever-changing society," Holt said.
The alliance is focused on moving the city of Sanford forward and strengthening relations within the community. Members of the group sat in on the Zimmerman trial on a daily basis to "witness the proceedings first hand and serve as rumor control."