Scholar Sees Parallel Between Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin

Ronald Harris, who heads the African American Male Resource Center at Chicago State University, says incident could be "torchlight" that sparks young activism

By Kim Vatis
|  Thursday, Mar 22, 2012  |  Updated 6:04 PM CDT
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Ronald Harris, who heads the African American Male Resource Center at Chicago State University, says incident could be

Ronald Harris, who heads the African American Male Resource Center at Chicago State University, says incident could be "torchlight" that sparks young activism.

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Chicago's Emmett Till and his horrific murder by white men in the south in 1955 galvanized our nation. Now some see the shooting death of a Florida teen by a neighborhood watchman another turning point in American history.

"This could possibly become the torchlight of young people ramping it up a bit to engage in activism that can bring about change," said Ronald Harris, who heads the African American Male Resource Center at Chicago State University.

On the CSU campus Wednesday, some students joined in a Million Hoodie March, one of several across the country, to protest Trayvon Martin's death.

"Trayvon is us. We are Trayvon Martin. We walk around with our hoodies on, and we try to do the right thing. And it's bad that ignorance is able to take away a life," said Tanisha Blu Martin.

For many young black men, the tragedy of Martin's death hits too close to home.

"You used to be targeted by the police, but people are taking it into their own hands. They'll come after you if they think that you're a criminal. It's kind of scary," Brandon Briggance.

Chicago churches are being urged to take activist roles this weekend. Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina's Parish, has asked church-goers to place a bag of Skittles, a can of iced tea and a hoodie at their altar in a show of solidarity.

The "Occupy Chicago" group has also planned a "We are Trayvon Martin" protest from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday at Daley Plaza.

Martin was shot after going to a nearby store for Skittles and tea, his parents and police said. The watchman who admits to shooting Martin, George Zimmerman, has not been charged.

BreakingNews.com has continual headlines on the Trayvon Martin case.

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