NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Across the nation thousands of demonstrators have been protesting the death of Trayvon Martin. Such a gathering occurred Tuesday afternoon at Stephen F. Austin State University.
Even though it was 80 degrees outside, fraternity brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha wore hoodies like the one the 17-year-old was wearing the night he was killed. It illustrates a piece of clothing shouldn't dictate what a person thinks of a person's character, like what protestors accuse George Zimmerman, the shooter of Martin, of doing.
"We're all college students that have a hoodie on. Nobody is judging us, so we thought nobody should judge him also," says Dante Doyle, member of Alpha Phi Alpha.
Ordinary citizens, political personalities and celebrities have joined the cause. So did SFA's dean of student affairs Adam Peck.
"I think there's a fear of looking too trendy as if we're just sort of jumping on to a cause because it has notoriety and cache right now in the media, but I think this goes so much farther than that. If an unarmed kid could be shot in a neighborhood in which his family lives for looking suspicious than I think all of our children are at risk," says Peck.
Scholars say the hoodie has always served as a cultural symbol among African American males, but it was never intended to portray danger or wrongdoing.
"So the symbol of the hoodie is really just to say, to bring attention to this issues that African Americans ave been singled out by law enforcement historically and currently," says Dr. Jerry Williams, SFA sociology department chair.
One student carried skittles and Arizona iced tea like what the teenager bought before his death. They are all symbols of solidarity.
"That's it. All men are created equal. Nobody is different. We all can live in the same country and have the same kind of equalness, we'll all go well," says C. J. Ogbonnaya, member of Alpha Phi Alpha.
The current event is a real life lesson in sensitivity training.
The Trayvon Martin killing has also brought another issue to the forefront. A crime watch volunteer in a Florida gated community shot and killed Martin. Criminal justice experts say police departments and watch groups need to make sure volunteers are unarmed and do not take matters into their own hands.