I am Trayvon Martin


As a non-traditional student growing up in the 80s and 90s, there has always been new clothing, new styles and trends.

From Run DMC and their Adidas sneakers, to LL Cool J that wore gold chains and screamed, “Momma said knock you out.”

There has always been some kind of stereotype that has come with people wearing clothing; some for the good and some not so good.

In this new age of Lady GaGa and freedom of expression, it is unbelievable that someone can lose his or her life based on the type of clothing that they wear.
In the past three months, there has been a growing concern over the incident that has happened in Florida over Trayvon Martin.

This young man was walking back from the store talking on a cell phone with his girlfriend.
He was carrying a bag of Skittles in one hand, and he was being followed by neighborhood watch vigilante George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman took Martin’s life based on him wearing a hooded sweatshirt.
I have been a student of Shippensburg University for the past three years. I have seen these hoodies worn by female and male students of every race and nationality. On a damp, dreary day on the Shippensburg campus, hoodies are worn and have been worn by our student body because it is a comfortable way of staying dry without using an umbrella.

Many walk through the university with their hands in their pockets and books on their back just like Martin did.

On a more personal level, I have two sons that live in a predominantly white neighborhood, and it is very disturbing to think that their safety could be in jeopardy based on what they wear on a daily basis.

There is no way for me to describe the pain that Martin’s family is going through. The pain of having to bury a child, with there being no justice for his untimely death, is a feeling that is indescribable.

President Barack Obama made a comment during a press conference on Martin and identified with the incident, stating Martin could be his own son.

He also showed concern that in these days and times, people can still be judged by what they wear and not by who they are as a person.

As an African-American student at SU, it is hard for me to come to terms with the fact that I could be judged by the clothing that I wear to class. That when I am released from class in the evening, with a schedule that goes until 9 p.m., someone could be afraid and take my presence as someone who could be dangerous to the Shippensburg community.

The fact is, that this incident could have happened anywhere, at any time, to anyone wearing a hoodie, even here at SU.

This incident resulted no arrests and no justice for this young man’s death.

So should we not speak up and realize that no matter what color you are, no matter where you come from, or what your background is, you can always be looked upon as someone threating? It is in the interest of all of us to take the time to know someone before judging a person. I mentioned Run DMC and LL Cool J in the beginning of this story because even though they wore clothing that sometimes portrayed them as thugs in the start of their careers, we also know Run DMC as someone who became a preacher and is now the Reverend Run. And LL Cool J is now a very successful actor.

We can only wonder who Martin would have been, had his life not been taken from him.


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