CHICAGO (AP) — In the wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of 17-year old Trayvon Martin, Chicago’s African-American clergy are calling for calm.

The pleas followed a Sanford jury’s decisions to clear the former Florida neighborhood watch volunteer of all charges in the shooting death of the Miami Gardens teen in a Sanford townhome community in February 2012.

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Zimmerman claimed he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed the teen last year at a condominium development.

Martin’s death unleashed debate across the U.S. over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice.

Some Chicago activists have called for a downtown rally on Sunday, and clergy will hold news conferences to stress nonviolence.

Pastor Ira Acree of Chicago’s Greater St. John Bible Church says the community should become a “united voice for peace.” He says it can’t control the verdict but “can control our streets and communities.”

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Demonstrators in Washington took to the streets early Sunday to rally in protest.

Crowds gathered on U Street chanting “No justice, no peace.” At least 100 people joined the march from U Street to Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights.

One protester carried a sign that read “Stop criminalizing black men.” Protester Sean Dallas said Martin was an innocent boy but was assumed to be a criminal because he was black.

The march remained peaceful and ended with a rally at a public plaza in Columbia Heights.

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