"I'm impressed with the fact that there is a second-degree murder charge in this case," said N.C. Central Professor Irving Joyner. "It could have been manslaughter or it could have been nothing."
Joyner and some law students were meeting to call for justice when the announcement was made Wednesday.
"We didn't want what happened to Trayvon Martin to happen to anyone anywhere else," said N.C. Central law student Tony Parker.
"This is something that should have happened long before now," said Joyner.
The frustration over the pace in which the investigation unfolded is palpable
"From the way it was handled at the beginning in kind of an oafish manner to getting this charge is a huge step," said N.C. Central law student Miles Fleming.
"Particularly in the African-American communities, people see had the situation been reversed -- that had Zimmerman been African-American and Martin had been white, charges would have been brought immediately," said Joyner.
Joyner said it's that perceived disparity that riled people up. He called it a dysfunctional justice system. A system he and millions of others hope works now that six weeks later Zimmerman is in jail.
"We think that we're in the proper forum now for justice to be decided," said Joyner.
North Carolina NAACP President William Barber told ABC11 that he's hopeful there will be a fair and open trial while they continue to tackle what he called the larger issue of racial profiling.