CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- On the same night that officials in Florida announced charges against neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, a community meeting was held in Charlotte to discuss the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
The meeting at the Little Rock AME Zion Church in uptown was diverse, and Pastor Dwayne Walker said it reminded him of the bag of Skittles Martin had bought just minutes before he was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida.
"One thing I can say about Skittles is that all these colors come together in one bag. We are all in this together," said Walker.
The meeting was organized by the Mecklenburg County Department of Community Relations. The Executive Director, Willie Ratchford, said after hearing of the charge of 2nd degree murder against Zimmerman, "I think we are at a point now where we will have a trial and in the minds of a lot of people, the justice system will decide how this ends up."
John Barnett, who heads a group called T.H.U.G.--True Healing Under God--organized rallies here and traveled to Sanford, Florida for a massive demonstration in support of the family of Trayvon Martin and the call for charges to be filed against Zimmerman.
Barnett said that kind of public pressure played a role in bringing the charges against Zimmerman.
"Most definitely. When we arrived there were about 30,000 people in the streets of Sanford and I do believe that impacted and made a big difference," he said.
The Martin case raised questions about race and gun rights and the hope of those at the meeting was that the answers would come from peaceful discourse and not more violence.