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USC’s Black Student Assembly holds Candlelight Vigil for Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis
By Shonassee Shaver Sentinel Contributing Writer
Published April 3, 2014

USC student gives a speech on slain victims of racial violence.

USC’s Black Student Body honors past and present victims of racial violence.

USC’s Black Student Assembly (BSA) took a somber stance, honoring Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and other victims of racial violence at a Candlelight Vigil March 5.

BSA Executive Director Ama Amoafo-Yeboah led the service to explore the past seven decades through short speeches and focus on the pattern of legalized lynching, police brutality and the infamous Stand-Your-Ground law and their social implications on race and ethnicity.

“The goal of the Trayvon Martin-Jordan Davis Candlelight Vigil is to provide a space through which people can come together across those lines of race and difference that too often keeps our community divided,” said Amoafo-Yeboah. “Let’s transcend those together, truly demonstrate indivisibility, and community with one another and go through this healing process together.”

USC students remembered the countless black youth, men and women who were slain due to the color of their skin and their assassins who went unpunished.

With a ceremonial introduction of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” symbolizing the systematic lynching of young black men, students gathered together collectively to honor the past and present victims of racial violence.

The ceremony hit home as the Black community has encountered the loss of Jordan Davis.

“Michael Dunn whose was found guilty on four of the five charges in a case in which he was accused of shooting a teenager to death over loud music, but was given a mistrial on the verdict of a murder charge. Dunn was found guilty of three counts of attempted second degree murder for shooting at other teens in car and one count of firing a gun into a car,” reported

Dunn, 47, had faced a first degree murder charge for the shooting Jordan Davis, 17 in a Jacksonville convenience store parking lot on Nov. 23, 2012.

It was déjà vu as Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman who felt he was endangered by Martin who was an unarmed teen wearing a hoodie and carrying a bag of skittles and Arizona Ice tea, Zimmerman was acquitted for second-degree murder and manslaughter on July 13, 2013.

USC’s Black Student Assembly recognized the unjust of Black males and the distorted judicial system. 

USC’s Black Student Assembly mourns the loss of Black men

Amoafo-Yeboah presented the deaths of George Stinney Jr., Emmett Till, Fred Hampton, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and the countless others who lost their lives due to racialized violence.  

While visiting family in Money, Mississippi in August of 24, 1955, Emmett Till reportedly flirted with a white cashier at a grocery store. Four days later, two white men kidnapped Till, beat him and shot him in the head. The men were tried for murder, but an all-white, male jury acquitted them.

Oscar Grant III was shot by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland on New Year’s Day 2009. On July 8, 2010, Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and not guilty of second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.

Latasha Harlins, 15, was shot and killed by Soon Ja Du a 51-year-old Korean store owner. Harlins’ death came thirteen days after the beating of Rodney King and Du was fined, sentenced to probation and community service for her crime.

All three victims along with Martin and Davis share the common interest of being Black and killed as their murderer walks free.

“Dunn testified that he feared for his life and thought Davis was going to kill him, prompting Dunn to pull out his gun and fire nine times at the car that the teenagers were sitting in. In his closing argument, Dunn’s attorney Cory Strolla said that his client had a right to “meet force with force,” reports

USC’s student body called attention to the Black male’s life not having value in America. The mere reasoning that their race posed a threat to their killer is justifiable in the judicial system. 

USC’s BSA concern for racial violence is relevant to their identity and livelihood.

“It’s really hard for me, I have a nephew who is 23 years old and he is a college student in Texas. Every time I think about Black men being gunned down, I think that could be my nephew. I’m afraid to have black boys, [laughs] I want black babies,” states Amoafo-Yeboah.

As the ceremony came to an end USC’s BSA had a moment of silence, candle lighting, and prayer for those killed by an ignorance.

 Students engage in a prayer during the ceremony.


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