Student organizers held a forum regarding the Trayvon Martin case on Thursday in Taper Hall, with the goal of raising student and community awareness concerning the incident.
Students and faculty affiliated with the I Am Trayvon Martin panel also held demonstrations near Tommy Trojan on Thursday, where they held hands and chanted their support for Martin and his family.
The I Am Trayvon Martin forum featured several USC professors and experts who discussed the legality of the case as well as the influence that racism and social injustice still have on our society.
Sharoni Little, an associate professor of clinical management communication, said the case demonstrates defects within our society’s laws because of its injustice to the victim.
“My concern is how we have logical people [agreeing] with the argument that a young 17-year-old boy can be killed in cold blood, and someone can get away with it,” Little said.
Amon Emeka, an assistant professor of sociology, said the Trayvon Martin case is another example of the killing of an innocent black man.
“As tragic as this particular case is, this case is systematic and has happened many other times,” Emeka said. “This case is something more influencing and far-reaching than just this particular incident.”
One of the student organizers of the forum, Christina Wilkerson, a senior majoring in sociology, said she helped organize the demonstrations and forum because she was a victim of the West 37th Place shooting in September 2011.
“I was a student who was shot at West 37th Place, and so the fact that someone could shoot someone else and then say self-defense when they’re the one that’s armed resonated with me on a personal level,” Wilkerson said. “[Trayvon Martin] could be any one of us on any day.”
Wilkerson also said it’s important for students in the USC community to get involved with the Trayvon Martin case because their activism will help spread the cause to ending racial violence.
“Oftentimes, the opportunity for us to do something is not there, so it’s important for students to get involved so they can say they participated in this social justice movement and that they made their voice heard,” Wilkerson said. “This event tomorrow is just a small step in a bigger movement.”
Ashley London, a sophomore majoring in philosophy, politics and law, said the Martin case should be important to all people because it shows the injustice that still exists in our society.
“As students we think a lot of problems that exist in our society have been solved, but the Trayvon Martin case shows that racism and injustice are still prevalent in our world,” London said. “[Events] like these are really important, because this is going to be history, and it’s important to be a part of the rallying and to get people to be aware.”
Audio slideshow by Chloe Stepney, Daily Trojan.