Capitol student-led Trayvon Martin protest: ‘Please don’t shoot me.’by Dara Kam | March 26th, 2012
About 100 students, many of them wearing hoodies in the 85-degree heat, marched to the Capitol from nearby Florida State University and Florida A & M University, joining protestors in Sanford and throughout the country to mark the one-month anniversary of the Feb. 26 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Chanting and holding signs including one that read “Please don’t shoot me. I only have Skittles and a drink,” the students’ enthusiasm grew as cars in the rush-hour traffic honked their approval.
Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who said he shot the youth in self defense, in a gated community last month. Zimmerman has not been charged with a crime.
The shooting has sparked a national furor with celebrities and sports stars joining in the demands for an arrest, and President Barack Obama saying that “If I had a son, he would have looked like Trayvon.” Martin’s parents joined in a rally in Sanford at 4 p.m. this afternoon.
FSU political science major Michael Sampson, 22, organized the Tallahassee event. Sampson called the failure of authorities to charge George Zimmerman with a crime “the last straw” for blacks and others.
“This case of Trayvon Martin, it’s the last straw for people of color,” Sampson, who is from Jacksonville, said. “We will not stop. We must keep going because we do not want to let another Trayvon Martin happen. Anyone one of us could be Trayvon Martin. I’m Trayvon Martin. I’m a young black male.”
Despite Gov. Rick Scott’s appointment of an independent prosecutor and his creation of a task force to look into the use of the state’s first-in-the-nation “Stand Your Ground” law, blacks and civil rights activists need to keep up the pressure, state Rep. Mia Jones, chairwoman of the legislative black caucus said.
The protests “keep the heat on and let everyone know that we’re paying attention,” Jones, D-Jacksonville, said.
Rep. Perry Thurston, one of the black lawyers who asked GOP leaders to look into the law and says it needs to be revised, said the Trayvon Martin shooting represents discrimination and racism that is pervasive throughout the nation.
“Trayvon Martin is the face of potential injustice all across the state,” Thurston, D-Plantation, said.