Local/State

Rallies held to show support for Trayvon Martin

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Students at UNC-Chapel Hill held a solemn show of support for the family of Trayvon Martin Thursday evening.

They took part in a unity circle and held a moment of silence on campus.

"It's important for us to come back with a positive message to let people know that we're still here," said NUC student Ashley Winkfield. "We're still fighting for what we can."

They gathered at UNC's Pit to put differences aside over a racially and politically charged tragedy.

"Us as a young generation, we just wanted to show that we won't be silenced when things like this occur," said UNC student Keenan Harrell.

Under the direction of national Pan-Hellenic Council members and UNC's Black Student Movement, about 150 held hands to form a unity circle and light a candle for Martin.

Sharessa Royster, a senior from Oxford, said the pain from Martin's death last year rocked the entire country, and that the verdict in the case reopened racial wounds.

"It just showed us how like where we stand," said Royster. "When the verdict came down, it showed us that a black male's life didn't mean anything."

A handful of students from the crowd expressed their concerns and hopes for what happens next in how - as a society - we deal with the fallout from the Martin case.

"Treating others with equality of course and not only doing that but helping others learn that as well," said UNC student Daisy Kaur.

"Every individual can make a small difference," said Royster. "You know there's nothing you have to do too crazy but everything counts."

A rally for peace and justice in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin was held in Fayetteville as well Thursday evening.

More than 100 people gathered in Seabrook Park to express their opinion. Some held signs, and others chanted.

Organizers of the rally said they know people are upset by the not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman case. However, they say there needs to be peace.

A second rally and candlelight vigil was held later on Hay Street also.

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