Days after the third anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s death, Martin’s father, Tracy, visited Arcadia University for “Letters to Trayvon: A Celebration of Black Men and Boys,” on Feb. 28 in the Commons Great Room.
Around 300 students and community members attended the sold-out event hosted by Dr. Doreen Loury, director of Pan-African Studies and assistant professor of sociology, anthropology, and criminal justice, and sponsored by the Black Male Development Symposium (BMDS), of which Dr. Loury serves as executive director.
The night began with Imhotep Charter School’s dance and spoken word performance in honor of Trayvon, followed by an art exhibit, the announcement of winners in the Letters to Trayvon essay competition, and a public discussion about the case, held by Martin and Philadelphia-area columnist Solomon Jones. They focused on the “actual Trayvon,” who they said has been distorted in the media, with Martin recounting positive memories of Trayvon.
“We really need to start focusing in on our young men and women,” Martin said, when asked what the audience should take away from his son’s death. “We need to show them that we care about them, their lives matter, they need to start going after their goals, and learning their self-worth.”
The Trayvon Martin Foundation, run by Martin and Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, works to raise awareness of the impact of violent crime on families of the victims and to provide support and advocacy for those families.
“I am a woman of color, and I believe in my people, and I want to see them thrive as much as anyone else,” said Amber Williams ’16. “I hope that people in Philadelphia and worldwide are hearing what the man has to say and changing it for all other boys.”