By: Gina Pitisci
Tallahassee, FL - One year ago today, George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin during a confrontation in Sanford, Florida. Students at both FAMU and FSU gathered on campus today to honor the slain teen. Eugene Butler III, is an FSU Student Senator and Ignite Party member, he says "it's already been a year. At some point it escaped my mind that this is still going on, that this trial is still happening, that we haven't had any resolution to this issue." He was one of many students and community members that attended the vigils at FSU and FAMU for the one year anniversary of when 17 year old, Trayvon Martin was killed in Sanford, Florida. FSU Student, Rosie Contreras says "we're celebrating what it means to be able to come together, as a group of people, with a common purpose against injustice."
Brian Marshall helped coordinate the vigils and says his organization, Dream Defenders, developed from the movement following Trayvon Martin's death. He states, "we have not forgotten about Trayvon Martin's death and Dream Defenders and any other like minded group will continue to fight for racial equality amongst all."
Representative Alan Williams has proposed House Bill 4009 which seeks to repeal the stand your ground law. Williams said this bill does not go against the second amendment or the right to protect oneself and also mentions "this is about keeping our communities safe, this is about keeping our neighborhoods safe, and it's about making sure that individuals do not use Stand Your Ground as a screen to be vigilantes in our community."
Students held hands and prayed in a group setting for those who have lost their lives. Civil and Criminal Trial Lawyer, Chuck Hobbs says, "a lot of the students at FAMU are close in age as Trayvon Martin and they need to understand that to a great extent some of the issues that take place with regards to police brutality, racial profiling, it could happen to them also and so there are certain things that they need to be aware of so as they go out and do their thing, they are not caught up and become the next person who comes to an unfortunate demise."
The Dream Defenders Organization hosted a candlelight vigil and speak-out near the Eternal Flame Statue on FAMU's campus today.
The vigil started at 6pm, but we were also at an earlier vigil on FSU's campus at 3pm.
At the earlier vigil, about 40 people gathered at the Integration Statue on FSU's campus. Guest speakers from the Dream Defenders Organization expressed their feelings on Trayvon Martin's death one year later, the stand your ground legislation and prayed in a group setting for those who have lost their lives due to racism and prejudice.
The Dream Defenders Organization actually developed from the movement following Trayvon Martin's death and have local chapters on college campuses across the state of Florida.
At the vigil on FAMU's campus at 6pm, special guests, attorney Charles Hobbs and representative Alan Williams are in attendance.
According to students, the goal of having the vigil is to remember what happened to Trayvon and bring awareness for the future.