Eastern takes a stand
A crowd of students marched through campus in protest of Trayvon Martin’s death at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Martin was an unarmed 17-year-old who was fatally shot in Florida by the captain of the Neighborhood Watch of his father’s gated community, despite having committed no crime.
The crowd marched from the Student Center to the Eateries and back. Estimates of the crowd’s size ranged from 150 students to over 200.
Porsche Griffin, a senior at EMU, said she marched because incidents like Martin’s death can happen anywhere.
“Issues such as this know no area codes, no regions,” Griffin said. “It could happen to anybody, anywhere, of any race.”
Jaimar Scott, a senior at EMU who attended the march, said any idea that racism is dead “couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Scott said that even in Ypsilanti, he finds himself subjected to racial profiling.
“It seems like every time I drive my car I get pulled over,” Scott said. “When I ask them why, they never really give me a reason.”
Gabriel Green, a sophomore at EMU, said he has been subjected to similar treatment and felt, “slighted, misjudged, disrespected.”
Green said that even when he feels strongly that he is being mistreated, he doesn’t try to be “defiant in any capacity.”
“It’s a compromising and a very humbling position being an African American male,” he said. “It’s never in my best judgment to show any kind of resistance or any type of boldness.”
Scott said a march through EMU’s campus was necessary because Martin’s death relates to a lot of issues he has observed on campus.
“We have a lot of issues concerning image and perception,” he said.
Griffin said that despite EMU’s diverse student population, there is little racial harmony on campus.
“It is diverse but once you see it on the inside view, you see a separation between race and ethnic groups,” she said.
Scott concurred that despite the diversity on campus, “people kind of separate themselves.”
“It’s still racially divided,” he said.
According to Green, these divisions were not apparent at the march. Instead, people of different ethnic or racial backgrounds joined to protest the injustice and collectively say, “we want this to change.”
“There was strong unity, very strong unity,” Green said. “I believe we made it quite clear that we were in this together.”
The march was organized by NAACP-EMU.
Amber Hudson, president of NAACP-EMU, said the Black Student Union, You Beautiful Black Woman, The Minority Women in Leadership Commission, The Nation Pan-Hellenic Council and Black Leaders Acquiring Critical Knowledge all participated in the march.
Prominent media personality, Geraldo Rivera, recently said Martin’s hooded sweatshirt was “as much responsible” for Martin’s death as the Neighborhood Watch captain, George Zimmerman.
“If he didn’t have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way,” Rivera said on Fox News.
Scott said students are encouraged to wear hooded sweatshirts on Monday to protest Martin’s death and any attempt to validate his shooting based on his appearance.
Hudson said a letter writing campaign to the district attorney of Florida will take place this week.
According to EMU Director of Diversity and Community Involvement, Reggie Barnes, Student Government is organizing a “Real Talk” dialogue about “the Trayvon Martin case, gun laws and inequality in America.”