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Students call for justice

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By Austin Metz
Editor in Chief

The crowd slowly gathered outside GRCC’s Student Center.

First there were students, then local residents, and soon members of various media outlets.

Each wanted to find justice, each wished they could bring peace to the family of Trayvon Martin.

By the time it was all said and done, about 60 people had made the mile trek wearing their hooded sweat shirts.

On the anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr., Grand Rapids Community College students, former community leaders, and Grand Rapids residents took part in a march and rally for Trayvon Martin and his family.

Trayvon Martin was the 17-year-old boy who was allegedly shot and killed on February 26 by George Zimmerman on his way home from the store wearing a hoodie and carrying Skittles and an iced tea.

“We are doing this for change,” said Black Student Union member Terrill Charleston. “We want this to go beyond this march.”

Led by leaders of the Black Student Union, 60 people walked the mile route from the Bostwick Commons to Rosa Parks Circle and eventually to the ATC Building for the rally portion of the event.

Charleston went on to explain what he wanted to happen in the situation.

“I want the family to get justice and peace of mind,” Charleston said. “I think it could have been handled better. When the police told Zimmerman not to pursue, that is when he should have listened.”

Charleston is referring to when Zimmerman called area police about the situation and was told to stand down and not follow Martin.

Chaka White, Black Student Union President at GRCC, helped plan the event and felt that justice needs to be served.

“In my opinion, the best resolution to this case would be to arrest Zimmerman because the fact that he chose to pursue and later kill Martin who was known to be unarmed even after he was told by the 911 operator to stand down,” White said.

“It’s a sad situation for the United States,” said Grand Rapids resident Mike Mieras. “There is no reason to kill a 17-year-old walking down the street with Skittles and an iced tea. It just isn’t right. It’s not a black and white issue, it’s a human issue.”

Paul Mayhue is a former GRCC student and former Kent County Commissioner who participated in the walk and felt that justice has not been served.

“The guy who killed the boy should be arrested,” Mayhue said, referring to the alleged killer George Zimmerman. “It should be a no brainer. At least arrest the man for obstruction of justice. If they would at least arrest him it would help calm the situation.”

Mayhue felt the situation is only getting worse the longer Zimmerman is able to walk free.

“Right now the haters are out there spewing their hate,” Mayhue said. “The man needs to be arrested. There is enough killing going on without this race killing.”

Zachary Winston is another Grand Rapids resident who took part in the event who felt that although the country has improved, racism still exists.

“I don’t think racism will ever be eliminated,” Winston said. “We have a white power system and it’s not willing to share the power.”

“I think this is good,” Mayhue said. “It helps people say ‘I helped. I contributed because I want to see things right in my life.’ When you see injustice, it makes you want to help.”