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*The Campus Celebrity this week are the students of IUP who spoke up and and took a stand in the name of Trayvon Martin. 

On the evening of Tuesday, March 27, one of the biggest marches on IUP’s campus took place in honor of a young life that was unjustly taken.  “The IUP Hoodie March for Trayvon Martin” took the campus by storm as students of all races and backgrounds gathered to stand for the justice of Trayvon.

On February 26, Martin was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch leader who claimed that Martin was suspicious.  The 17-year-old boy was unarmed at the time, carrying nothing but Skittles and an iced tea.  The killer, George Zimmerman, said he shot the victim in self defense, which witnesses argue against. The man remains free and the Florida police show no sign of investigating into this incident.

What caused Zimmerman to feel so threaten by this boy’s presence?  It was Martin’s attire, which included white tennis shoes, blue jeans and a hoodie. In honor of Trayvon, millions have been showing their support in finding justice for this innocent life that was taken.  The “Million Hoodie March” has taken place all over the country in the past few days and has finally made its way to IUP thanks to an ambitious student who took a stand.

Lauren Hamilton organized the march in less than 24 hours, yet still had an overwhelming turnout.

“Today makes it a month and one day since Trayvon’s death, and George Zimmerman is still not charged,” said Hamilton.  “I thought we should all come together and stand against racism and promote peace and justice for Trayvon.”

Hamilton, not being a member of any organization, took it upon herself to organize this movement–it turned out to be a complete success.

“A student at IUP stepped up for a cause on her own without being a part of an organization and it is an honor to work with her,” said Samuel Johnson III, president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. 

Through flyers, social media networks and word of mouth, students and organizations quickly heard of the march throughout the day.  The event started promptly at 8 p.m. on the steps of Pratt Hall.  “This march is to promote peace and to make a difference,” said Hamilton to the huge crowd that had formed.  After the reading of an inspirational poem and a short song, the march began in full force.

It started down Oakland Avenue past the Oak Grove.  The crowd of hundreds consisted of fraternities, sororities, media coverage, the basketball team and those who just wanted to show their support for finding peace and justice in this case. 

With hoods up, the stretch of crowd carried along signs that read “RIP Trayvon” with pictures of the young teen, clips of iced tea labels and colorful Skittles pasted onto poster boards as a tribute to the things he was carrying at the time of his murder. As the chants of “no justice, no peace” filled the Oak Grove, more and more students joined the march as it made its way through campus and to its end in front of Wallwork Suites.

As Hamilton thanked everyone for coming, she was honored for her courage in putting this event together.

“I respect Lauren because she is a leader,” said Johnson.  “And if there were more leaders like her, it would be a better place.  It’s not about people like the man who pulled the trigger; it’s about people sitting back and doing nothing about it.”

As a tribute to Trayvon, a picture of the entire group of marchers was taken and sent to the family to show them that even way up here in Indiana, Pa., people are fighting for justice for their son, brother, nephew and cousin, Trayvon Martin.

No justice, no peace.


photos courtesy of: Jessica Kae

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