"We're racist and proud!" reads a sign held by a woman attending a counter-demonstration at a "Justice for Trayvon Martin" protest in a wealthy neighborhood of Houston, Tex. on Sunday. This woman was among 80 others who held signs, American flags and shouted their support for Florida's stand-your-grown defense laws in response to those protesting against the George Zimmerman trial verdict, the Daily Mail reports.
Although many people who supported the highly controversial decision of the jury to acquitt George Zimmerman have claimed that the death of Trayvon Martin is not an issue of race, those who protested against the "Justice for Trayvon" ralliers in Houston had race on the forefront of their minds.
The signs the counter-protesters held read things like "Remove the Black Panthers from the U.S.A." and "If Zimmerman is a 'White Hispanic' then President Obama is a 'White Black.'" Their presence was in response to hundreds of people rallying for "Justice for Trayvon," an event organized by Houston activist Quanell X who led the march in support of Martin for more than an hour through the neighborhood's streets.
"Quanell X is the real racist" read one counter-protester's sign.
Police on foot and on horseback had to hold back the opposing crowds from confronting one another physically, keeping the crowds moving and separated while tensions ran high.
Beginning Saturday, one week since the trial verdict, hundreds have gathered nationwide to protest the acquittal of Zimmerman and rally together in support of Trayvon Martin. Crowds across the country held signs, made speeches and urged U.S. authorities to change the self-defense laws present in many states, as well as arguing for federal civil rights charges to be brought against Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin.
Beyonce and Jay Z were among the participants at the New York City rally on Saturday, joining Rev Al Sharpton and the mother of Trayvon Martin, Sybrina Fulton, who spoke to the crowd and urged them to fight for justice by directly impacting local laws and elections.
"We have the strength to wipe our tears away. Last Saturday we cried. This Saturday we march," Fulton told the crowd. "'Today it was my son. Tomorrow it might be yours. Of course we are hurting. Of course we are shocked and disappointed, but that just means we have to roll up our sleeves and continue to fight."
Rev Al Sharpton told the crowd, "Jay Z told me, 'I'm a father. Beyonce is a mother.' We all feel the pain and apprehension - the laws must protect everybody, or it doesn't protect anybody." The Reverend told protesters that many are still endangered by racial profiling, comparing Zimmernan's acquittal to four of the white officers who brutally beat black motorist Rodney King in 1992.
''The verdict freed George Zimmerman, but it condemned America more," he said.
Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer said during the rally: "Regardless of how you view the legality of the verdict in isolation, justice here was denied. An innocent young man was shot and killed and that is a tragedy."
Click here to see photos of people on Sunday supporting the acquittal and counter-demontrating the Trayvon Martin protest with signs that read things like "We're racist and proud!"
UPDATE: The woman holding the "We're racist and proud!" sign is part of an elaborate media mix-up, as she has been identified as part of the pro-Trayvon Martin rally and using the sign ironically.