Nearly 200 people in Florence joined thousands of others nationwide on Saturday for a series of rallies and vigils called "Justice for Trayvon."
One week after a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in the death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin, people gathered to press 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 laws, guns, and race relations. Zimmerman, who successfully claimed self-defense, identifies as Hispanic. Martin was black.
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 Birmingham, Ala. Sharpton wants the Justice Department to pursue a federal civil rights case against Zimmerman.
One of the rallies held at the federal building in Florence. It was organized by Florence City Councilman Ed Robinson, president of the Florence chapter of the National Action Network.
Robinson explained to a fired up crowd that Martin did not die in vain, "In my thinking he died for a reason and that reason is to show that injustice, racism is still prevalent in the United States of America."
Other demonstrators echoed Robinson's message, adding that Martin's family will never be able to get peace if they don't stand for justice.
"We're here today offering our condolences to the Martin family, they're going through a lot. Justice was not served and that's the main reason why we're here," said Florence protester Tony Hines.
On Saturday morning on a plaza in downtown Manhattan, Sharpton spoke to supporters, telling them he said he wants a rollback of stand-your-ground self-defense laws.
"We are trying to change laws so that this never, ever happens again," Sharpton said.
Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, also spoke to the New York crowd. "Today it was my son. Tomorrow it might be yours," she said.
Martin's brother, Jahvaris Fulton, also was to attend the New York event. Martin's father was scheduled to participate in a rally in Miami, where a crowd also gathered Saturday morning.(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)