WUFT News

Trayvon Martin and Florida, one year later: Protests, ‘stand your ground’ law, neighborhood watches

By on February 26th, 2013

Marc Whiteman reported for WUFT-TV.

A year ago Tuesday, Trayvon Martin was shot by George Zimmerman, a self-proclaimed neighborhood watchman, in Sanford. Martin died, and a national conversation shifted to self-defense policy, neighborhood watches and racial tensions.

To mark the anniversary of Martin’s death, local activist groups are making sure issues such as racial injustice and the “stand your ground” law  stay at the forefront of public conversation. The “stand your ground” law allows people who feel threatened to respond with force, including gunfire.

Tuesday night from 4 to 6 p.m., the University of Florida Dream Defenders will host a remembrance event at the Institute of Black Culture at 1510 W. University Ave. The club was founded a year ago when students marched in Sanford in response to the shooting. Now, the activists say they’re focused on challenging inequalities.

“We hope that students maintain the level of race (consciousness) they have had for the last year,” said Chrisley Carpio, a UF Dream Defenders spokeswoman.

Also on Tuesday, at 6:30 p.m., UF’s chapter of Students for a Democratic Society will host a rally in Bo Diddley Plaza, SDS member Michela Martinazzi said, “to share feelings and emotions… We want to move forward, not to stay in the past.”

The club is using the anniversary of Martin’s death to educate people on the “stand your ground” policies and the timeline of events that led to Martin’s shooting.

By talking to the historically black Porters community, east Gainesville residents and downtown businesses, 20-year-old Martinazzi hopes there will be a “melting pot of opinions” at the event.

SDS chapters at Florida State University, University of South Florida and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University are also holding events in solidarity.

About 20 Alachua County neighborhoods have neighborhood watches, said Cary Gallop, an Alachua County Sheriff’s Office crime prevention deputy. The purpose of a watch, he said, is to provide extra eyes and ears to the police. A watch is not vigilante law enforcement.

To establish a crime watch, the neighborhood watch must have three meetings with Gallop within a year. After that initial year, the meetings are only required to be annual.

Since the shooting, Gallop has been trying to define participation level and address racial issues.

In response, he stresses encouraging the entire neighborhood to take part in the watch, but not to get directly involved when they see suspicious activity. That’s the time to call in a law enforcement officer.

“We don’t want to see a loss of life,” Gallop said.

A 9:30 a.m. burglary in his Meadowbrook neighborhood in Gainesville compelled Steve Garrahan to start a watch in his area. At the first meeting, some of the 200 neighbors who attended asked about carrying firearms. Garrahan dismissed this mentality.

“We don’t need guns,” he said. “We need communication.”


This entry was posted in Health and Science and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Health and Science

dogpalsy

Community Provides Companion For Cerebral Palsy Child

Olivia Pitts, 3, has lived with cerebral palsy her whole life. Now, her community has pulled together to provide her with a service dog..


Jessica Grobman, born HIV-positive, said she believes better sex education in Florida schools would help children grow up safer and healthier. “If education was just more encouraged, it definitely could be a great outcome,” she said.  Photo courtesy of Jessica Grobman.

HIV Positive Student Advocates Comprehensive Sex Education

Jessica Grobman was born with HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus. But it was not until she learned about HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in middle school that she began to understand she was different.


FTN-feature

UF Graduate Students Offer Free Therapy To Those In Need

Volunteer graduate students studying clinical health psychology staff the Free Therapy Night clinic at Gainesville Community Ministry. The equal access clinic focuses specifically on mental health.


UF_Shands

UF Health Shands Hospital Responds To Mold Discovery In North Tower

After a complaint from a cancer patient, UF Health Shands Hospital has removed mold from three patient rooms in the hospital’s north tower.


Selena Sattler searches for the grade of her favorite fast food location on What the Health. The app was recently released in Florida, allowing users quick access to local restaurant grades based on health inspections.

Mobile App Offers Restaurant Health Inspection Grades

An app called What the Health offers users instant access to health inspection data for restaurants in the area. Launched in Florida on Jan. 26, the app assigns letter grades for restaurants based on county health inspection findings.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments