April 9, 2012
By Jack Fink
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin may have been killed a thousand miles away in Florida, but for students taking part in a candlelight vigil at SMU Monday night, Martin’s death hits close to home and close to their hearts.
Jeff Robertson organized the vigil, and is a member of the Black Law Student Association on campus.
He says, “As far as the physical distance, we’re a world apart. But as far as the spirit, there’s a kindred spirit that something young African-Americans go through, especially African-American males, we’re looked at as a threat.”
At UT Arlington Monday, students shouted, “We are Trayvon! We are Trayvon!”
Students and members of the greater community expressed outrage the man accused of shooting the teen, neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, hasn’t been arrested or charged.
Silk Littlejohn-Gamble, President of the Arlington NAACP Chapter, said, “We are not one nation when we can let a child die over a hoodie and skittles, and a man walk free.”
Renatta Nance organized a silent march at SMU and in the Park Cities. More than 50 students wore hooded sweatshirts, the same thing Martin wore the night he was killed.
Nance says she felt a personal connection to Martin, “I definitely see the face of my younger brother when I look at him.”
She believes their show of solidarity sends a message. “I think my parents’ and my grandparents’ generation definitely had a spirit of activism that I feel like our generation really doesn’t display. So I want to make sure that we can really to care about things more than Facebook or Twitter things of that nature.”
The march attracted not just students, but faculty members like Karen Click, director of SMU’s Women’s Center.
Click summed up what many people felt: “I think it’s beautiful I think it’s a powerful visual for them to express what they’re thinking, and hope the campus and the greater Park cities they’re really connected to what is happening nationally.”