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Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton Join NAACP in Trayvon Martin Protests

Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton Join NAACP in Trayvon Martin Protests

Monday marks another restless day in Sanford, Fla., where community leaders and activists, NAACP leaders, and Christian ministers, are scheduled to attend a series of events calling for punishment for the killer of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was shot exactly one month ago while returning from a store, unarmed.

A panel discussion will be held at the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church at noon today, moderated by columnist and TV talk show host Roland Martin, according to local media reports. Panelists are to include NAACP Florida president, Adora Obi Nweze, as well as Martin family attorneys, Ben Crump and Natalie Jackson and state Rep. Dwayne L. Taylor (D-Daytona Beach).

The NAACP has been supporting the Martin family since the tragedy made national headlines, with members insisting that the African-American teen's killing involved racial profiling. Martin was shot by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watchman, who had not been arrested due to Florida's "Stand Your Ground Law," which allows residents to use deadly force to defend themselves in order to "prevent death or great bodily harm." Zimmeran, who is white and Hispanic, claims he shot Martin in self-defense, as he feared for his life. According to reports, Zimmerman followed Martin, despite police ordering him not to, as he walked through a gated residential community.

Prominent black church leaders are also planning to show their support for Martin's family today by joining the calls for Zimmerman's arrest.

Popular Baltimore evangelist Jamal Bryant is scheduled to protest in front of Sanford City Hall at 4 p.m. before a 5 p.m. City Council meeting. The protest will begin at First United Methodist Church on South Park Avenue, and end at the Sanford Civic Center, according to The Orlando Sentinel.

"Headed to Sanford today with a few Sorors to rally for justice," Bryant Tweeted Monday morning.

Trayvon Martin's parents, along with civil rights activists the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton, will be in attendance at the 5 p.m. town hall meeting. 

Sharpton has been arguably the most outspoken advocate for the case among public church personalities and public figures. During a big rally last week, which he led, Sharpton said that Zimmerman "should have been arrested that night."

Monday morning, Sharpton tweeted: "Spent much of last night meeting with the parents and lawyers of Trayvon Martin about the legal and movement strategy for justice."

Although some observers have noted that it has predominantly been African-American church leaders at the forefront of calls for justice in Trayvon Martin's case, other Christian figures have expressed outrage over the teen's killing. 

Many Southern Baptist pastors in Florida see the issue as a social justice case, not a racial profiling one, a local pastor told The Christian Post recently.

Among prominent Evangelical leaders who have expressed solidarity with the protesters were Franklin Graham of Samaritan's Purse and John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minn.

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