Trayvon Martin

At the University of Maine at Farmington’s (UMF) Landing on May 2, 2012, from 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. the community will be able to petition for justice in regards to the Trayvon Martin case which has created heated debate across the country about social issues and problems within the justice system.

UMF fourth year student, and political science major Kishara Griffin and senior Marcelle Hutchins are planning the event called, “UMF Stands for Justice: Paying Respects to Trayvon,” which allows for the community to participate in “a petition signing [that is] demanding reform of Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law and for Zimmerman’s arrest.”

In the outline of the event in an email interview, Griffin said, “Professor Woody Hanstein will be highlighting major points of this case.”

According to Griffin, “On February 26, 2012 Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old Florida resident and high school student was shot and and killed by a 28 year-old watchman named George Zimmerman.”

The shooting occurred in Sanford, Florida, said Griffin and, “the parents were trying to get a proper investigation, but they could not so they chose to take it to the media in March.”

In holding this event for Trayvon, Griffin said, “It’s important to open up the eyes, minds and hearts of our peers in order to educate and encourage students to be proactive in bridging the gap of inequality. Of course this event may not be for everyone. Not everyone is going to care about Trayvon Martin or our flawed judicial system, but the ones who choose not to turn the other cheek when injustices such as this happen will gain way more from the experience than what they put into it.” Griffin listed off several wrongdoings regarding the case involving the teenager, including social and legal issues that included, but are not limited to: “The ‘stand your ground law’,” “Misconduct in police investigation,” lack of charges against the suspect, “questions of did race place a role in his death,” and “an act of racial-profiling gone wrong.” Griffin has extended a welcome to two activists to attend the event honoring Trayvon in May.

One of the activists is “Dumas F. Lafontant, Director of Community Relations at Whittier StreetHealth Center. Lafontant is an experienced civic, community and third sector leader,” said Griffin.

The other activist is his partner, Miya X, said Griffin, she “works in Education and Empowerment.”

In the response Griffin received by email from Lafontant, he said that he was thankful for the invitation and, “the system of education that is supposed to permit integration has failed spectacularly. As a result,  an unfortunate situation of more debt, unemployment, and inequalities seems to be the only real expectation that many young people will meet and/or exceed. Let it be so for it is proper for your generation to stand up and say no to this default future.”

From the email it wasn’t clear whether or  not the activist would attend the Trayvon Martin event.

On a website dedicated to public distribution of police issues in the United States, Police Leak (PoliceLeak.com), said in an article, “The teen was killed by Zimmerman while walking back to his father’s fiancés home after stepping out to buy Skittles and some iced tea during the NBA All-Star Game.”

In a blog at WordPress.com (realgoesright.wordpress.com) a writer expressed his view and said, “The interesting thing about this Trayvon Martin situation is, nobody is surprised. Least of all black men. This has been happening for hundreds of years.”

“We also have to remember that before Trayvon Martin: There was a Sean Bell in 2006, DJ Hennery in 2010, Emmitt Till in 1955 [and] the list continues. (These are cases in which justice was not appropriately served to the victims or their families)…In essence- the Trayvon Martin’s case is the straw that’s beginning to break the camel’s back!” said Griffin.

“Trayvon Martin will forever be seen as a symbolic figurehead to not only Black America but to all citizens across the nation, especially our youth,” said Griffin. “Martin is symbolic to our nation as a reminder of how much we must strive to acquire social equality and acceptance for all people!”