By: Olivia Holt & Rosa LaMattina
The University of Mount Union students are speaking out and fighting for justice because of the murder of Trayvon Martin.
The incident that caught the world’s attention happened on February 26, 2012 in Sanford, Florida. Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old African American who was walking in a gated community to his father’s girlfriend’s house where he was staying. George Zimmerman is a 28-year-old man who was on community watch at the time of the shooting. The confusing, tragedy happened at approximately 7:12 pm.
Police investigators have listened to 911 calls, testimony and also the personal story of Zimmerman. Unfortunately, Martin’s story cannot be told. Many cases where murder is involved, the stories become clouded and misleading. Investigators are working hard to find justice.
Mount Union’s Contribution
Mount is not alone in the world trying to fight for justice. Protests are happening around the nation, especially in Florida where the incident is hitting home. Mount students are also doing their part to stay involved and fight for what is right.
Students organized a “Hoods Up” day to honor Martin. Martin’s hood was up on the night of the murder which Zimmerman said was, “suspicious behavior.” The students spread the word about the event through social media sites such as, Facebook and Twitter.
Sophomore, Amanda Turner was invited to the event and participated by wearing her hood up throughout the day.
“I think it’s good that the campus can organize an event and band together against what’s wrong,” she said. “I also think it was a good way to let other students know what happened so they can help fight for justice.”
Turner was right about the event spreading the word around campus. Students put their hoods up throughout the day after talking to fellow students and learning about the event.
Sophomore, Laura Coxe is a student that did not know about the event until later in the day.
“I started realizing around lunch time that there were a lot of people with their hoods up,” she said. “After I finally asked someone what was going on I immediately put my hood up and felt proud to be a part of this campus that feels so strongly about certain issues and we’re not afraid to show those feelings.”
On April 11, 2012 a Special Prosecutor filed for second degree murder against George Zimmerman who turned himself in.
The students at Mount were angered and frustrated by the events because justice was not being served until the Special Prosecutor made the report. Zimmerman is of mixed ethnic backgrounds and Martin was African American. Speculations surfaced about racism being a key factor to the murder but it may never be proven. However, the speculation is raising questions in other cases also.
Zimmerman vs. Watts & England
On April 06, 2012 in Tulsa, Oklahoma a shooting occurred that left three people dead and two others wounded. All the victims were African American and suspected to be targeted by the shooters. Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 33, went on a shooting spree against the African American community of Tulsa.
USA Today wrote an article about the shootings that occurred in Oklahoma and Florida, connecting them both to racism.
“The charges were announced two days after second-degree murder charges were brought in another racially charged case, the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida,“ the article stated.
“That case sparked nationwide outrage and weeks of protests over the delay in charging neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, who shot the unarmed teenager in a gated community on Feb. 26. Zimmerman has claimed self-defense.”
Sophomore, Taylor Webb heard about the Oklahoma Shootings and connected it to the Trayvon Martin case.
“After I heard about the Oklahoma Shooting the Trayvon Martin murder came into my mind,” she said. “I wondered if it was a reaction and also if racism was the main reasoning and if other shootings are going to occur.”
Arguments are continually rising about how justice is being served in both cases. The Trayvon Martin murder is still an on-going process. Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder but recently released on a 150,000 bond. The Oklahoma shooters, Watts and England are facing possible death penalties and their bond is 9.16 million each.
Sophomore, Jackie Profera, “I don’t understand why there is such a difference in the punishment and the amount of the bonds between each case,” she said. “Murder is murder.”
Although this is only an assumption, a strong argument for racism can be made in each case. Investigators and prosecutors are working diligently to bring justice to each victim. The families and communities that were affected throughout the nation by the murders can breathe easier when justice is served.