April 9, 2012
By Amanda Guera
More than 70 Southern Methodist University students, faculty and staff members hosted a silent march Monday in support of a slain Florida teenager.
Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot Feb. 26 by George Zimmerman, who was patrolling the neighborhood where his father's fiance lived. Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self-defense and has not been arrested.
Participants walked quietly across campus Monday afternoon while wearing hoodies.
Journalism student Renatta Nance, who hosted the event on campus, said the case had moved her.
"And it really kind of unsettled me, and when I looked at pictures of him, I would see the face of my little brother, and I would just become like really emotional," she said.
Many of the marchers said they want justice for Martin's death, which they say is a product of racism.
"I think it is definitely about race," said Corbin Swagerty, a SMU student.
"I know many black students who tell me they're routinely followed in stores, on the streets, and they feel very threatened by that," professor Bruce Levy said.
Students said they believe 28-year-old George Zimmerman, the man who admitted to shooting and killing Martin, should be arrested on suspicion of murder.
"I think the fact that he was unarmed and that he was shot down in self-defense, or 'self-defense,' is not really a very good defense for that," said SMU student Amanda Koon.
But more so, students said they want people to know racism in America still exists.
"I feel like this, this is something that can unfortunately happen anywhere," Nance said.
"Everyone has the same fears, the same hopes, the same aspirations for their life, and the sooner we realize that, the sooner things like this can stop happening," Swagerty said.