In the wake of the divisive Florida verdict clearing George Zimmerman of killing teen Trayvon Martin, Attorney General Eric Holder is heading to Orlando to address the shooting and gun violence concerns at the annual convention of the NAACP, a group angered by the jury's finding and Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law.
He will face an organization that has collected nearly 450,000 signatures on a petition to the Justice Department demanding civil rights charges against Zimmerman.
Holder and two other cabinet officials, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan, will participate in a Tuesday event at the convention titled "From Chaos to Community." The session, said the NAACP program, will "examine how all-too easy access to guns and the resulting gun violence are a major problem in the United States today."
The session feeds directly into the Florida shooting case and will be the first chance the administration will have to expand on President Obama's short statement after the jury verdict.
Shortly after the verdict, the NAACP issued a petition that has gathered nearly half a million signatures. It read in part, "The most fundamental of civil rights — the right to life — was violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life of Trayvon Martin. We ask that the Department of Justice file civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman for this egregious violation."
In the convention program, Adora Obi Nweze, president of the Florida state conference of the NAACP, cited Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law as one of those the group would like to change. She wrote, "We must not understate the fierce urgency to be proactive in challenging new laws that disenfranchise voters, create Schoolhouse to Jailhouse expressways, and maintain Stand Your Ground Laws that give profilers excuses to beat or kill our young black men."
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.