Residents rallying Wednesday night in Bluffton called for racial unity and political action in the wake of the acquittal of the man who killed Trayvon Martin.
More than 50 people gathered at Eagles Field to come to terms with the "not guilty" verdict that freed George Zimmerman and work to address what they view as injustice in ways large and small.
Rally organizer Bridgette Frazier, the 29-year-old daughter of the late Oscar Frazier, spoke from home plate and told the mixed-race crowd that the Martin case exposed universal problems with "stand your ground" laws, in which deadly force may be used if the victim fears for his or her life. Similar rallies have been held across the country since the verdict was announced Saturday night.
"Trayvon could have been a Caucasian male, and I would have been equally enraged if his killer was set free because that sends a message in society that life is not valued," she said.
Activist Gloria Moss urged residents to get involved in the community and stand up to injustice, even though doing nothing is often easier.
Any actions, she said, should be done in the spirit of unity rather than racial division.
"Until we come together in Bluffton, South Carolina, and shake some trees, nothing will change," she said.
Moss and Frazier also urged residents to register to vote, get to know their elected officials and hold them accountable.
Aspiring American Idol Monique Bryant, 19, of Bluffton, sang the gospel song "Blessed in the City."
Frazier, who taught school in West Palm Beach, Fla., for eight years and recently moved back home, hopes the forum will spark a wave of community activism.
"That's my passion and it's something that is inclusive to everyone when it comes to race, religion or beliefs," she said.
Follow reporter Casey Conley at twitter.com/IPBG_Casey.