Cindy Sheehan Joins TSU Students at Trayvon Martin Rally

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Cindy Sheehan


By Marlon Davis

Standing in the midst of searing 80-degree weather, American anti-war activist, Cindy Sheehan rallied alongside other hooded sweatshirt supporters of Trayvon Martin recently outside of Texas Southern University’s Granville M. Sawyer Auditorium.

Originally in Houston to promote her new book, Revolution, A Love Story, Sheehan temporarily diverted her steps from that of book promoter to demonstrator of “injustice.”

“First of all, I think there are at least two systems of justice in this country: one for the rich[and] one for the poor, one for the white and one for people of color,” Sheehan said. “What happened to him [Trayvon Martin] was a terrible, horrible thing, of course, and it’s important to keep this case in the forefront so his family gets justice for his murder.”

Martin, 17, who was African-American, was shot to death on February 26 in Sanford, Fl. by George Zimmerman, 28,who is biracial [white and Hispanic].  Zimmerman, a self-proclaimed neighborhood crime-watch volunteer, claimed the unarmed teen looked suspicious as he walked home from the store.

Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self-defense after a confrontation; however, only a bag of skittles and a can of tea were found at the scene near Martin.

Sheehan said this was clearly a case of racial profiling.

She became an activist for justice and peace after her son’s death in the Iraqi war, and received nationwide notoriety by creating a makeshift camp outside former President George W. Bush’s Crawford ranch in 2005, until she was granted permission to meet the president face to face.

Sheehan finds herself in a similar predicament by standing up for justice and peace once again, but this time for Martin.

“We are supposed to be in a post racial society,” Sheehan said, “but it just says that racism is very alive and well. Many years after the civil rights act, there’s still profound racism in this country. And it doesn’t say a lot for us as human beings, unless we stand up publicly and say this racially-motivated killing is wrong, and the person who did it needs to be held accountable for it.”

Recent text and images surfaced after Martin’s Facebook account was hacked suggesting that Martin was a possible marijuana dealer/smoker; delinquent in the school environment; bearer of offensive rap lyrics; owner of dental jewelry, and an enthusiast of tattoo body art, all of which left many outraged.

“Of course they like to demonize the victim in cases like this,” Sheehan said. “And if we were in post racial America, that wouldn’t work. But people want to believe this about the victim. And so, even if any of that is true, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make any difference. Oh, he has tattoos; oh, he was suspended from school; oh, and he smoked marijuana. I have tattoos, I was suspended from school, I smoked marijuana. I’m still alive. It makes no difference, he should still be alive.”

Sheehan insists that an effective way to combat this problem of racial inequality is to place the power in the hands of the citizens instead of the politicians to eliminate misrepresentation of the people’s voice.

“Most of the time when we put our hopes in politicians or institutions, we’re going to be disappointed and hurt again and again, and again and again,” Sheehan said.  “But one thing I like about the Occupy Movement is it does take back power into the people.  We have to start that down at our level and not wait for laws to be passed or, you know, for the politicians to lead the way because they are definitely not going to lead the way. So I think grassroot[s] involvement by the people with other people is essential if we really want change.”

While protesters, ranging from pastors to hip-hop artists, gave insight from the top step of the Sawyer Auditorium, the theme for the afternoon was apparent: to achieve the desired results of equality and justice, unity must serve as a bridge between young adults and seasoned adults. The investigation of Trayvon Martin’s murder continues.

Zimmerman was arrested on April 11 and charged with second-degree murder. If convicted, Zimmerman could face life in prison.  Many of Martin’s supporters said justice is closer to being served.

Social Media Correspondents
The Social Media Correspondents use multiple social media platforms to report on pertinent issues. The founding editor is journalist and Texas Southern University Journalism Professor Serbino Sandifer-Walker @sswalker (Twitter). *We are the first team in the nation, with a professional and collegiate news group, to use multiple social media as a reporting tool. We tell stories dynamically using a myriad of social and multimedia platforms. We are especially interested in telling under told stories in underserved communities. We use mobile phones and tablets to capture video, audio, photos and live events in the communities we cover. We live tweet and have a newsfeed on Twitter at #TwitterNewsChat. We're always thinking outside of the box.

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