Hoodie-clad Texas State students, faculty and staff from all walks of life united in the Quad Tuesday in remembrance of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was killed Feb. 26.
George Zimmerman, neighborhood watch volunteer, shot an unarmed Martin after calling police to report him as a suspicious person. One of Zimmerman’s reasons for suspicion was the hooded jacket Martin was wearing the night of the incident.
“We thought it would be good to put together a support rally for Martin,” said Ariana Vargas, graduate research assistant for Multicultural Student Affairs and coordinator for the Underrepresented Student Advisory Council. The anthropology and sociology departments also helped with the event, known as Hoodie Day.
Darius Jones, mass communication junior and coordinating secretary for Black Student Alliance, helped emcee the event.
“This is a social justice issue,” Jones said. “We are here to let everyone know, including Trayvon Martin’s family, that Bobcats care.”
Texas State’s Hoodie Day drew a large number of students, faculty and staff, including student body leaders such as Associated Student Government president AJ DeGarmo.
“This is an issue much larger than one person,” DeGarmo said. “As young adults, we should not live in fear or anxiety simply due to our gender, our race, sexual orientation or the groups we affiliate with. None of these things matter, and at the end of the day these should be things we celebrate.”
The ceremony ended with a short moment of silence and closing remarks led by Gabriella Corales, English senior.
“This was a shocking event,” Corales said. “But this shows that we as Bobcats stand with Martin, stand with his family and stand for social justice.”
Though the event was short, Jones said the issue is far from over.
“This is something that everyone should attend, and Texas State does have something to say about this,” Jones said.
Jay Hawkins, mass communication sophomore, recited a poem he wrote in Martin’s memory.
“This issue has been really heavy on my heart,” Hawkins said. “It’s like Martin Luther King said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ If we let this pass over, there’s no telling what’s next. We control a lot more than we think we do, and this is a huge statement as a people. This is a travesty that brought America together as a family.”
Activists around the country have been wearing hoodies to show solidarity with the Martin family. Last week, members of the Miami Heat basketball team posted photos of themselves wearing hoodies on Twitter, and several New York state senators wore hoodies over their suits during a session. In New York, an event known as the Million Hoodie March drew a massive crowd, as did a similar demonstration at Antioch University in Los Angeles.
No charges have been filed against Zimmerman, who claims he acted in self-defense and is protected by Florida’s “stand your ground” law. However, Durell Peaden, the bill’s co-sponsor, said the “stand your ground” law does not apply because Zimmerman pursued Martin.