Wearing hooded sweatshirts to show their love and support for young Trayvon Martin, LIU Post’s NAACP chapter held a candlelight memorial in his memory on April 2nd in the Winnick Center’s Long Island room. A group of about 20 students came out to the event.
Trayvon Martin was 17 years old when he was shot and killed by the self-appointed neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in Florida. The altercation took place on February 26th, in Sanford, Florida, where Zimmerman claims Martin looked suspicious and then tried to attack Zimmerman. Martin was approached by Zimmerman, who then shot the young man because he allegedly feared for his life. Currently, Zimmerman is facing no charges or jail time.
The Trayvon Martin case has caused a national outcry for justice. Many college campuses are holding memorials, rallies and marches in hopes of bringing about justice for the young man and his family. The NAACP chapter at LIU Post is on the list of colleges and organizations trying to spread awareness and demand legal action.
Arielle Thomas, a senior Public Relations major, said, “I’m really glad NAACP did the Trayvon Martin Tribute. I truly hope this tragedy brings awareness to the public and the Post community. I just wish more Post students would have been in attendance to truly support.”
NAACP organizers asked everyone to stand in a circle with his or her hoods up as they began to discuss their feelings about the case. Some students began to speak about the comments made by FOX News Channel host Geraldo Rivera, who was quoted on the show “Fox and Friends” as saying, “I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.” According to Rivera, young black and Latino men who wear hoodies are asking for trouble. He said hoodies make you look suspicious; therefore, expect trouble when wearing one. The group of students commented on how ridiculous that was and noted that a hoodie is not a legitimate reason to kill someone. Many pointed out the fact that each and every one of them stood in the room that night all wearing their hoods.
Some other topics of discussion were that Martin had nothing on him other than a bottle of juice and a bag of Skittles. Students were left questioning how the young man could have possibly made Zimmerman fear for his life when he had Skittles and juice in his hand.
Students began to briefly speak of racism, stereotypes, and their personal fears for themselves and for family members, and shared some of their own stories. The group also spoke about the impact the case has on the members’ lives and what makes them so passionate about fighting for justice for the young Florida teen. At the end of the discussion, the group lit candles that spelled out the initials of the young man and had a moment of silence.
Students, like Shakira Wheatle, a freshman Early Childhood Education major, spoke about what the case means to her and how it makes her worry for her family members. “The candle-lighting that NAACP held really touched me because it is focused on the Trayvon Martin case, which I feel very strongly about. I feel this way because I feel like no justice is being served. The fact that Trayvon Martin was innocent makes this case even bigger than it is. I have a little brother and that could happen to anyone, including him.”
Chardonnay Smith, a freshman Sociology major, talked about being an activist for a cause versus just hitting the “Like” button on Facebook or re-tweeting on Twitter. “Unlike social networks, stuff happens in the world, and it keeps going on in other peoples lives. So, if you’re going to start the support, then finish the support,” Smith said.