Today: Jul 23, 2024

Southern rallies for Trayvon Martin


Candy was thrown out over the heads of students who filled the academic quad with their hands stretched out to grab a bag of Skittles last Thursday.

“On the back of the Skittles we handed out at the event, there were stickers that gave students information about the march [Southern was involved in this past Saturday for Trayvon Martin],” said Chris Piscitelli, director of Judicial Affairs.

Students at Southern felt the need to get more involved and inform the student population on campus about Trayvon Martin, who was a 17-year-old black high school student in Sanford, Fla. He was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch guard on Feb. 26. Martin was wearing a hoodie and was unarmed at the time. Protesters link the killing to racial profiling. Martin also had a bag of Skittles on him when he was gunned down.

“Well our students are great,” Piscitelli said. “What was awesome was the diversity of the groups on campus that jumped on board. They came to us wanting to draw attention to this issue. So we thought of something we could do to spread the word really quick.”

Natalie Sabino, a junior communication majors, said that students on campus who worked to plan this event could not think of a better way than throwing Skittles into the crowd with a little piece of information on the back.

“This isn’t about any one name of a club or group on the sticker promoting this cause; it’s more about raising the awareness and coming together to do that,” Piscitelli said, adding the student body needs to be more aware of what is going on in the news and around the world.

“I think the student body,” Venetia Ndabian, sophomore, said “is somewhat aware of what is going on with Trayvon; it’s kind of hard not to be.”

Twitter was a big part of how some students on campus first heard about the shooting of Trayvon Martin, according to Ndabian.

“I did see and read some articles about the case on Twitter,” Stefan Keller, senior social work major, said. “That is one of my news sources and one of the reasons I use Twitter. I follow many news sites on Twitter and that is one of the places I first heard about the case. I am not on Facebook as much but that is how I heard about the march on Saturday.”

According to the stickers on the bags of Skittles given out to the students the “Hoodies Up” march began at the Dixwell Q Community House and ended at the New Haven Green. Students were able to ride buses from Southern that left from Hickerson Hall.

“I think that the event today for Trayvon was a good start as far as bringing awareness to the issue,” said Keller. “I think it was good to have students in the quad talking about issues that are important to us as not just a university but as a nation. I do not think we talk about these types of national issues enough.”

According to Keller, students at Southern might not be fully aware of the Trayvon Martin case.

“I think that a lot of times we think of our generation as not really aware of what is going on in the world,” said Keller. “I think to some degree this is true, but I think that on a basic level most students had heard of Trayvon Martin and knew at least something about the case. However, I do not think as many students were following the issue closely.”

When students read or see on the news a story like Martin’s, the message they receive should be about taking action any way they can and trying to make a difference, according to Piscitelli.

“Students,” Piscitelli said, “are in the best position to be active and make a change.”

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