As mounting evidence calls into question George Zimmerman's version of events in the Trayvon Martin shooting, Austin Peay State University students gathered on Thursday to remember the slain teenager and call for justice, at an event organized by student Lelann Evans.
APSU alumnus Wanda McMoore was one of the speakers. McMoore's husband Terry McMoore, director of the Tennessee Urban Resource Center, provided photos and a transcript of the speech:
Good afternoon everyone. My name is Wanda McMoore. I am an APSU alumnus, a wife and a mother. I actually wrote this little speech several days ago after reading an update on Trayvon Martin’s murder. At the end of that short update in the online newspaper — although I normally resist the temptation because I don’t like to read the negativity that usually gets posted there, regardless of the subject — in Trayvon’s case I was compelled on this day to see what venom was spewing forth from the bloggers. I actually was surprised to see that there was a fair share of postings that possessed a higher degree of civility. So because of that civility, I stopped what I was doing at that moment and wrote these words down, at first, it was to send to the editor, then just to get it off of my chest and onto paper, and now, I bring my feelings and thoughts of that day to each of you.
The rest of the speech and more photos, after the jump ....
As you all know, Trayvon Martin, a teenager, a mere child, was violently shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a professed neighborhood watch captain on Feb. 26, 2012, as Trayvon was returning from the store. Trayvon Martin was walking home and speaking to his girlfriend on his cell phone, unaware that he was being profiled as a suspicious character. As we all continue to watch and listen as this saga continues to unfold, there are a few things that I challenge each of you to keep in mind. Because each of you, has the potential to be an influential aspect of several other peoples’ lives and opinions on this matter.
First of all, what matters most is the fact that you must go back to the initial reports on this case to remember the relevant points that have been made public to date. The most important of these relevant points is that George Zimmerman called 911 to report a "so-called suspicious person" — NOT "a person in the act of committing any type of crime." Next relevant point is the fact that the 911 operator told George Zimmerman not to follow this person. Then as Zimmerman continued to follow Trayvon Martin, he set himself up for a confrontation with someone who probably was suddenly put on edge and wondering why he was being followed at night by a strange male figure. So the relevant fact remains that Zimmerman created a situation by continuing to follow Trayvon.
Upon his initial arrival to the Stanton police station, video clearly shows that Zimmerman does not have any injury to the back of his head, or to his face, and no indication of a broken nose, there was no indication of blood of any amount on his shirt, face, back of his head or his or on his jacket which is clearly seen in the video. Nor is there any other indication of a struggle, such as wet grass on his clothes. Finally, let's not forget that George Zimmerman is the only one saying that he was retreating when Trayvon started to follow him and attacked him. How convenient an alibi considering this child is now dead, and will never be able to tell his side of the story.
If it were me walking home in the rain with my hood on (which is what the average person does in the rain, even though we end up soaked anyway), as soon as I felt I was being followed I would be wondering what kind of pervert was following me and what type of harm he might be planning. So Zimmerman created an avoidable situation that has resulted in the death of a CHILD. So, in spite of what spin the media tries to place on all of this, including trying to demoralize this CHILD's reputation, I challenge each of you to think of what would have been going through your mind as you walked home from the store, in the rain and a male figure began to follow you.
I am pretty sure that each of you, knowing that all you had to defend yourself with was a can of iced tea and a bag of skittles, would have been trying to think of what to do to protect yourself if this strange, unknown, male figure came up to you in the dark, in the rain and started a confrontation with you. So, put aside race, from every angle and place yourself in that hood on a rainy, evening and think of how an unknown pursuer would have made you react.
So, I challenge each of you to let go of any subconscious prejudices you may have and put yourself into Trayvon’s hoodie. Picture yourself, walking home from the store talking to a loved one on the phone, and then being approached by an unknown male from behind — and remember, the man following you is an adult — You at this moment are just a kid, with a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea.
George Zimmerman's action, of assuming someone was suspicious just because the person was wearing a hoodie, and the outcome of his actions, the violent shooting death of an unarmed child, are exactly why this type of incident gives any degree of self-defense laws a bad name.
I'm just saying ...