Eighty-degree weather isnt typically considered suitable for hoodies, but about 80 students wore the extra fabric Monday in memory of fallen Sanford teen Trayvon Martin.
The Black Student Union (BSU) asked students Monday to march from the Marshall Student Center to the MLK Plaza in hoodies for a moment of silence for Martin, who was shot and killed Feb. 26 by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman while wearing one.
While the rally served to raise awareness about Martins death, Cornelius Williams, a sophomore majoring in mass communications, needed no additional reminder about his friend.
Williams said he called Martin a cousin not because of a blood bond, but for the closer-than-family relationship the two shared since they first met through Williams family.
He came over to his cousins house and they came to my house, he said. He met my mom and my mother was like Oh, this kid, why is this kid so quiet? Were going to call you Mouse. Since that day, we called him Mouse and he came around like family.
The two last spoke during Christmas break, Williams said.
I had him over the house, we played basketball and he asked me what kind of grades that I got in school and thats the type of student he is, 10th grade so we were actually talking about what schools he might go to and he actually spoke about USF, he said. I personally asked him, Hey, are you going to come to USF with me? And he was like, Yeah, and he was supposed to come up to visit during spring break, but as things happened, it didnt work out.
Williams called Martin funny and independent, but said it would take much more to describe him as a whole. As for Zimmerman, who has not yet been charged for Martins death, Williams said he wasnt sure.
Im not saying anything more should happen (to Zimmerman), he said. But I understand there needs to be more done than what has already been done.
Following the moment of silence, Williams spoke to the 80 hoodie-clad supporters and said losing his close friend is still surreal to him and thanked everyone in attendance for their support, asking them to continue ghting.
In a separate event on Monday, the College Democrats also rallied for Martin in the plaza with support from the Florida American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Director of Mid-Florida Regional ACLU Joyce Hamilton said she wished she couldve appeared under different circumstances.
Im not talking about the tragic events of Feb. 26. she said. Im talking about a history in Florida and other states where justice for all has been elusive and justice for some as been impossible. Too many times, crimes in our community with a clear racial motive were swept under the rug or overlooked while families and communities waited for justice.
Gov. Rick Scott has appointed a special prosecutor, State Attorney Angela B. Corey, in a state investigation of Martins death. Martins own case was complicated Monday after a possible leak from the Sanford Police Department, which stated that Zimmerman claimed Martin acted as the aggressor and punched him in the nose, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Hamilton said the police investigation on the Martin case requires its own investigation.
Outside investigators should investigate the investigation itself, she said. So if there are problems in the local police department, such as departures from standard procedure in the investigation of a killing and possible biases, we could learn what those are and demand change.
Colton Canton, a junior majoring in political scienceand creative writing and communications director for the College Democrats, said the infringement of the law system was the greatest injustice of all.
Our culture, our identity as Americans is founded upon the idea that that power doesnt rest with any one man, that power does not rest with any one institution even, but that that power rests with the collective will of the people, he said.
Yet Canton said the Martin case could ultimately turn into something good out of something bad by possibly changing the laws.
The word youve heard perhaps most today is justice, he said. What is justice? Is it simple vengeance? Is it the use of force to correct behavior in the future? Is it self-defense the way the man who shot Trayvon Martin would have it defending yourself in your community by whatever means necessary? I dont believe so. I believe the essence of justice is the hope that out of tragedy can come hope. It is the hope that right can come from wrong.