July 25, 2014

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Trayvon Martin: Oberlin ‘needed a voice’ among nationwide vigils

OBERLIN — A national dialogue spread to the local level at a vigil in Oberlin commemorating the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin midday Saturday.

The ceremony occurred at Martin Luther King Park unofficially in conjunction with Saturday’s Justice for Trayvon 100-city vigil movement spearheaded by the Rev. Al Sharpton.

“Oberlin needed a voice in the 100 City Vigil,” said organizer Annesse Oliver-Wyman, who had one day to put the event together. “The community needed to express itself.”

The nationwide vigils organized by Sharpton’s National Action Network are working to pushfor possible civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch coordinator who shot and killed Martin in Stanford, Fla., according to the network’s website.

In concert with the other vigils, the Oberlin ceremony began at noon with a turnout of approximately 60 people. The speaker list included Oberlin College retired professor Booker Peek, community activist Ken Stanley, Oberlin native and Ohio State University professor Malcom Cash and Oberlin’s Peace Community Church minister Steve Hammond.

Each brought insight on how to memorialize Martin and move forward. They all spoke about uniting as a community to combat racism in America before violence and death occur.

“We as humans have responsibility to make this world a better place,” said Peek. “Help this world see what is right and just and humane for all.”

Stanley reviewed House Bill 203, introduced to the General Assembly on July 11, which gives legal validity to individuals who have a license that allows them to conceal a handgun on their person in Ohio, regardless of the state that issued the license and expands the right to use that gun in self-defense anywhere people are lawfully allowed.

“The law says if you find a young black man scary, shoot him,” said Stanley in response to the acquittal of Zimmerman in Martin’s case.

Stanley expressed concern regarding HB 203’s impact on the county.

Although the speakers did not mention disagreeing with the jury’s verdict, attendees cited discontent with the decision as reason to come to the vigil.

“I’m out here because of the situation,” one man said. “Zimmerman should not have gotten out scot-free.”

Despite their frustration with the outcome and sadness for Martin and his family, people left re-energized to effect change. Several mentioned desires to protect their children’s and grandchildren’s futures and to inspire them to take action.

Contact Elizabeth Kuhr at 329-7126 or ekuhr@chroniclet.com.

  • Larry Crnobrnja

    “The law says if you find a young black man scary, shoot him,” said Stanley

    That’s not what it says and either Mr Stanley is too ignorant to understand or he is just baiting division. Shame on you, Mr Stanley. Community instigator is more like it.

  • Daniel Sutter

    Once you are on the ground getting the life beat of you?

  • Rosie Pluto

    When will people wake up? Sharp ton and Jackson just need to go away. They have made millions agitating the masses

  • CharlesMartel732

    “We as humans have responsibility to make this world a better place,” said
    Peek. “

    Mr. Peek you couldn’t even get your message across to fellow speaker Mr. Stanley who made irresponsible and inflammatory comments.

  • Zen Grouch

    **“The law says if you find a young black man scary, shoot him,” said
    Stanley in response to the acquittal of Zimmerman in Martin’s case.**

    That’s so unbelievably ignorant it’s actually quite funny!

    Whenever I hear these kind of morons making their noises while they flail their hands about, I laugh ‘em off.

    How can they expect anyone with half a brain to pay attention to ‘em, when they’re so full of it?

  • Joe Sandor

    What did we expect from Liberal Oberlin and Uber-Liberal Oberlin College profs? You get tenure and you can spout off – right, wrong, or ludicrous. Stanley has no idea of the law of its intents or repercussions. He is just repeating TV personalities. It would be nice if Profs would get smarts. As for the others, they want “justice”. THesde are college folks and they do not know definitions. Justice is defined as “the adminstration of law”. In this case, both Traygone and George got justice.