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July 21, 2013

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People gather across United States in ‘Justice for Trayvon’ rallies

ATLANTA (AP) — One week after a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in the death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin, people gathered for nationwide rallies to press for changes to self-defense laws and for federal civil rights charges against the former neighborhood watch leader.

The Florida case has become a flashpoint in separate but converging national debates over self-defense, guns, and race relations. Zimmerman, who successfully claimed that he was protecting himself when he shot Martin, identifies himself as Hispanic. Martin was black.

“It’s personal,” said Cincinnati resident Chris Donegan, whose 11-year-old son wore a black hoodie to the rally, as Martin did when he died. “Anybody who is black with kids, Trayvon Martin became our son.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network organized the “Justice for Trayvon” rallies and vigils outside federal buildings in at least 101 cities: from New York and Los Angeles to Wichita, Kan., and Atlanta, where people stood in the rain at the base of the federal courthouse, with traffic blocked on surrounding downtown streets.

Chants rang out across the rallies. “Justice! Justice! Justice! ... Now! Now! Now!” ‘‘We won’t forget.” ‘‘No justice! No peace!” Many also sang hymns, prayed and held hands.

After ambitious inaugural, Obama saddled by political realities in 2nd term

WASHINGTON (AP) — Six months ago, President Barack Obama stood on the Capitol steps and offered a soaring liberal vision for his second term. Buoyed by re-election, he said the nation must pursue without delay steps to protect children from gun violence, tackle climate change and overhaul fractured immigration laws.

But the intervening months have showcased the political limits of Obama’s ambitions. The result has been an uneven and sometimes disjointed first half of what arguably could be the most important year of the remainder of his presidency.

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