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July 15, 2013

Multiracial Zimmerman Protest Photos: Sign of Change or Wishful Thinking?

One thing that struck me immediately about the photo coverage of the Zimmerman verdict, distinct from at least recent civil rights protest imagery, was the number of widely-published newswire images highlighting a multi-racial response. (Regarding geography, the first four pics are from Seminole, the next three are from New York and the last, the 10 freeway in L.A.) What I can’t tell is if these images are reflective of an instinct to come together and that result, or the photos are more cherry picked and wishful.

The first three images above by Getty’s Scott Olson outside the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center certainly deliver a powerful solidarity statement, particularly the white woman reaching out to embrace the black child.

I guess we could also say that the “all together now” spirit of these photos is at least consistent with the largely nonviolent nature of the nationwide reaction. To the central question though, and perhaps an ironic one with the recent passing of Rodney King: can we say that the  reaction to Zimmerman and the Florida “stand your ground” law is reflecting progress –across the broad middle, at least — in getting along?

(photo 1 -3: Scott Olson/Getty Images caption 1: Tanetta Foster is comforted by Erika Rodgers (L) after she breaks into tears in front of the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center after learning George Zimmerman had been found not guilty in the Murder of Trayvon Martin on July 13, 2013 in Sanford, Florida. caption 2: Melinda O’Neal (L) breaks into tears and hugs Shedrick Burfect in front of the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center after learning George Zimmerman had been found not guilty in the Murder of Trayvon Martin on July 13, 2013 in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, shot and killed 17-year-old Martin after an altercation in February 2012. caption 3: Kat Crowe, left, and Melinda O’Neal comfort each other in front of the Seminole County courthouse after learning George Zimmerman had been found not guilty late July 13 in the Murder of Trayvon Martin. photo 4: Brian Blanco/European Pressphoto Agency caption: Demonstrators reacted to the not guilty verdict at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center. photo 5: John Minchillo/AP caption: Demonstrators converge on Union Square in New York Sunday, July 14, 2013 during a protest against the acquittal of neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida.photo 6: Keith Bedford/Reuters caption: Worshippers at the Middle Collegiate Church hold prayer services wearing hoodies in support of slain teenager Trayvon Martin in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in his trial in New York, July 14, 2013.photo 7: Adrees Latif/Reuters caption: Hundreds of activists demand justice for Trayvon Martin after marching to Times Square from New York’s Union Square July 14, 2013. photo 8: Robyn Beck / AFP-Getty Images caption: Police officers confront protesters on the 10 Freeway.)

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