LANGSTON, Okla. — The death of a Florida teenager has some Oklahomans demanding justice and clarification of our own gun laws. The shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last month finds some questioning the state’s own personal protection measures, both the ones already on the books and ones still being considered.
A rally held Thursday on the Langston University campus centered on the death of Martin who was shot by neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman.
Zimmerman claimed self-defense.
Thursday’s rally at Langston held two messages.
One was a call for a review of Oklahoma’s own “Stand Your Ground” law.
The other was about justice and how this should not be a racial issue.
Students shouted, “We are Trayvon Martin” as they walked across campus.
One of the organizers, Dazhon Darien, said, “It’s more than just a rally. We’re calling for justice. Here at Langston we’re not looking at it as a racial thing. It has absolutely nothing to do with race. It’s a people thing.”
Faculty, staff and students wore hoodies to represent unity and carried Skittles to show all the colors are together in the same bag.
The symbolism was drawn from the items Martin was wearing and carrying the night he died.
Vice President of Student Affairs, Angela Jones, told the crowd, “It was Martin Luther King, Jr. who said in his letter from the Birmingham jail that ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'”
State Senator Constance Johnson also spoke.
She said, “The only way we are going to change the policies that we consider backwards, that we feel are trending at the state backwards, and open carry in my opinion is one, is by voting.
Student Darrel Strong said, “It is not the bullet that killed Trayvon Martin but ignorance, apathy and a lack of understanding that powered that 9 millimeter to shoot that young man.”
Students held their breath and let the tears flow as they heard a portion of one of the 911 calls. One message was a constant at the rally; a call for the students gathered to be the generation that comes together.
Sen. Johnson said, “It does not matter that Trayvon was a 17-year-old African American male. Trayvon was a human.”
The students chose to hold the rally on the steps of Sanford Hall since the shooting of Trayvon Martin happened in Sanford, Florida.
On a related note, the Oklahoma Senate has passed a measure allowing people who have a concealed carry permit to openly carry a handgun.
There are other similar measures moving forward as well.