USC Rally for Trayvon Martin [Updated]
The USC community gathered Thursday in front of Tommy Trojan to express their outrage in response to Trayvon Martin's murder.
Students chanted, "I am Trayvon Martin," in unison while holding up signs to represent Trayvon's death.
"I felt like I was hearing some of the stories my mother used to tell me about, because we lived in the South. And this type of thing happened a lot," Costance Kizzie-Gillette said.
"I feel like the reason people should be aware of it is because the cold fact is that racism still exists and it's still unfair for racial profiling," Matthew Gray, a USC Senior Communications Major student commented.
There are a series of "Justice For Trayvon" rallies and community forums Wednesday throughout Southern California. USC held a "student-led, hoodie encouraged" "I Am Trayvon Martin" rally with more than 20 pastors participating from local areas. In addition, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday a USC panel on race and social justice will discuss Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. Students in Santa Monica will have a "Justice for Trayvon- Student Dialog, March and Rally" from 3 to 7 p.m.]
As more details of the circumstances surrounding Trayvon Martin's death are released, local protests and rallies have been held in support of the Florida teen.
On Tuesday morning in Culver City, Antioch University held a community meeting to discuss Trayvon Martin's death and the university's response to the case. The attendees were encouraged to wear hooded sweatshirts in honor of Martin.
Also on Tuesday, hundreds of people attended a "Justice for Trayvon Martin" hoodie rally at City Hall, organized by Los Angeles Sentinel publisher Danny Bakewell, the NAACP, and faith leaders. According to the Los Angeles Times, the diverse crowd waved signs that read "Jail for Zimmerman...Justice for Trayvon" and "Stand up Against Racism." The local rallies demonstrate the amount of support for Martin and his family in Los Angeles.
Martin's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, will be on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. for a forum organized by Congress on racial profiling and hate crimes Tuesday. They are not expected to testify for the death of Martin.
Several congress members argue the shooting should be investigated as a hate crime but the Department of Justice has notified Martin's parents that getting hate crime charges against alleged shooter George Zimmerman will be a challenge.
Trayvon Martin was murdered last month in Sanford, Florida by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, who claimed that he shot Martin out of self-defense after Martin allegedly hit him. Zimmerman has yet to be arrested because of a Florida state law that protects individuals who use deadly force against another person if they believe their safety or life is in danger.
The case has sparked national outcry over the issue of racial profiling, as many people, including civil rights activists, believe Martin was targeted as being "suspicious" because of the fact that he is an African American male and was wearing a hoodie at the time of confrontation. Supporters also believe the case is evident of a justice system that neglects black victims of violence.
The U.S. Justice Department has launched an investigation into Trayvon Martin's death, amidst the widespread criticism of the way authorities handled the case.