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  • 21 Oct 2014

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Trayvon protesters march in North Portland

A few hundred people rallied at Peninsula Park in north Portland Sunday to voice their frustrations with Saturday’s George Zimmerman verdict.

On Saturday, the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager was found not guilty.

But while the Trayvon Martin case and verdict is what brought ralliers to Portland’s Peninsula Park, participants said it’s just another example of a racist system that treats black people and black communities unfairly.

Things kicked off at Peninsula Park around 4 p.m. Sunday with a rally and speak out. Participants told KOIN 6 News the verdict highlights a nationwide problem that’s an issue in Portland as well. They argued black people are stopped and questioned more by police and given longer and more severe jail sentences.

As Reverend Jesse Jackson called the verdict a “miscarriage of justice,” those at this north Portland rally said they want community members and decision makers to know they are ready to fight the system.

“This just speaks to a legacy of injustice for black people,” said participant Jamal Williams. “And, frankly, had this been a black man shooting a white youth there would be no question.”

Rally organizer Jamie Partridge said this is a struggle “for what we’re involved with today, justice for Trayvon, but also a struggle against this racist system that is targeting young black men.”

In other cities across the U.S., protests and vigils also were held.

In New York City, hundreds of protesters marched into Times Square on Sunday night, chanting “Justice for! Trayvon Martin!”

In Philadelphia, about 700 protesters marched from LOVE Park to the Liberty Bell, alternating between chanting Martin’s name and “No justice, no peace.”

About 200 people turned out for a rally and march in downtown Chicago.

In San Francisco and Los Angeles, where an earlier protest was dispersed with beanbag rounds, police closed streets.

More than 200 people gathered for a vigil in Miami. One poster read: “Don’t worry about more riots. Worry about more Zimmermans.”