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BGSO should be applauded for Trayvon Martin rally

Trayvon Martin, an African-American teenager in Florida, was shot and killed unarmed last month by George Zimmerman, a man whose mother is from Peru and whose father is white. Zimmerman claims self-defense; Martin’s family argues it was a racially motivated murder. To make matters more complicated, Zimmerman was not arrested after the incident and still remains free today.

This gives the impression to many that local government either didn’t care or didn’t do its job in an unbiased manner.

We support investigation into Martin’s death and protests to inspire police reform and racial equality. We especially support Carnegie Mellon’s participation in the “Rally for Justice for Trayvon Martin” protest at the Fence last Monday, sponsored by Carnegie Mellon’s Black Graduate Student Organization.

The rally was a great example of ability of the Carnegie Mellon community to come together in a show of activism. Educational institutions are often instrumental in fostering ideas and movements, and university settings are an apt practice ground for the movements to make policy changes.

The protest at the Fence was well attended, primarily by non-Carnegie Mellon students.

However, it may make students reconsider Carnegie Mellon’s role in shaping local response to national controversies. Pittsburgh’s racial history is not spotless; it involves continuing deep rejection, fear, and avoidance of other races. We should actively promote interracial relations.

We should take Martin’s death as an opportunity to help shape our world to prevent future tragedies, as well as to foster community activism on campus.