Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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U of R Students Gather to Remember Trayvon Martin

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Rochester: U of R Students Gather to Remember Trayvon Martin
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It was a year ago Tuesday when unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin was shot and killed while walking home. Groups all over the country gathered to remember Martin, including students at the University of Rochester.

It was a moment of silence that echoed through the heart of campus at the University of Rochester. About two dozen students stood still on the steps of Rush Rhees Library on campus to reflect and remember Martin.

"I don't want Trayvon Martin to be forgotten and I don't want the issue of racially profiling and violence being forgotten," said Anansa Benbow, Black Students Union.

The national news story sparked outrage throughout the country when George Zimmerman shot and killed Martin in Sanford, Florida claiming self-defense. It shined a spotlight on racial profiling; an issue freshman student O'reggio Bennett says he's all too familiar with.

"Even though I've come from a big city and I've definitely had my share of racial profiling, I definitely had racial slurs thrown out at me," said Bennet.

Stories like his was shared amongst the various student groups that organized the rally.

"I can walk around with my hood up and nothing will happen, you know I would never... that wouldn't happen," said Kelly Rickert, Students for a Democratic Society.

Students say even though a year has passed since the teen was killed, it still has an impact.

"Personally, just like dealing with issues of race that I see in the community and I myself as a white person and trying to, you know, recognizing the privilege that that brings and that what happened to Trayvon would not have happen to me because of my skin color," said Rickert.

There were rallies and marches like this going on across the country. The students here hope that in some way they will make a difference.

"I feel it's important for us to continue to raise awareness around these issues because it is an issue that's very prevalent and not just in the black community but in America," said Benbow.

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