Zimmerman Verdict Sparks Call For Action By Civil Rights Leaders

(Memphis) SCLC President Dwight Montgomery expressed disappointment with the not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin.

“I disagree with the verdict. He murdered that young man,” Montgomery said.

But Rev. Montgomery said Memphis needs to now look at its own problems first.

“What we have to do is understand we’re going to have to take care of our business in the neighborhoods,” Montgomery said.

He said civil rights leaders, the faith-based community, law enforcement, and elected leaders should be just as outraged by the number of murders in this city, sometimes as a result of people of the same race.

“There are African Americans who are killed every week, two and three times a week and that’s not by a Zimmerman nor the KKK, but by black folk,” Montgomery said.

Other civil rights leaders agree the murder rate in Memphis can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.

Pastor Keith Norman, the president of the Memphis chapter of the NAACP, said more needs to be and will be done.

“We recognize that we need to do more. We’ve done quite a bit already, but we need to do more and have a more visible presence in tearing down the walls that perpetrate stereotypes, profiling, crime of any nature,” Norman said.

This week, Norman is attending the NAACP’s annual convention in Orlando. It’s 30 miles away from the racially-charged George Zimmerman case.

“We must investigate crimes based on the actual person or persons who are committing the crimes and hold them accountable,” Norman said.

It’s a renewed call to be more accountable, and find solutions to our own problems here at home.

“We have to stand up for justice and equality so that everybody will be treated fairly.” Montgomery said.

Montgomery said the SCLC will be meeting July 23rd with the faith-based community, city leaders and law enforcement to address the violence problem in Memphis.

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