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UTA Students Rally In Memory Of Slain Teen Trayvon Martin

By Robbie Owens and Chuck Schechner, CBSDFW.com
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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Nearly 300 students marched Monday on the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington in the case of Trayvon Martin.

It’s an effort seeking justice in the shooting death of the unarmed 17-year old in Florida. Monday marked the one-month anniversary of his death.

Many of the protestors signed a petition calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who reportedly killed the teenager.

“I haven’t seen African Americans this upset in a long time,” said sociology professor Jason Shelton.

But Shelton said he was immensely gratified to see how diverse the crowd was.

“This affects everybody,” he said. “I’ve got young Asian students, young white students, Latino students who love hip hop music and have sweatshirts ¬¬–– but when they rock those sweatshirts, they don’t have to worry about law enforcement in the way that we do,” he added.

“So it’s important that they’re here today because they recognize that understanding and that commonality.”

Enduring the mid-day heat, many marchers donned hoodies similar to what Martin was wearing when he was shot. Many said they did it in a show of solidarity.

“Just walking down the street with some Skittles and iced tea doesn’t mean I’m a threat to anybody,” said UTA junior Jeremy Dismuke. “I do that all the time. How do I feel walking down the street knowing it’s OK for somebody to come shoot me, say ‘self defense’ and walk off clean?”

Shelton told the crowd Monday that the Martin case resonates with him both professionally and personally. When he was a college student, he said he and a group of fraternity brothers leaving a late night meeting were stopped and surrounded by police.

“Apparently we fit the description of a group of young males that had robbed a school –– and we were wearing shirts and ties! Many people often say that this Trayvon Martin issue is about the way people dress … well, clearly, it’s not just about the way people dress, “ says Shelton. “It’s also about the color of our skin.”

There have been several similar rallies locally and across the country in recent days.

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