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Posted on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 10:13 a.m.

University of Michigan student group to host forum and vigil on race Tuesday in response to Zimmerman verdict

By Kellie Woodhouse

The University of Michigan Black Student Union is holding a forum on race and a candlelight vigil on Tuesday evening in response to racial tensions sparked by the trial of George Zimmerman.


A crowd of University of Michigan students gathered on the Diag in March 2012 in support of Trayvon Martin.

Chris Asadian | file photo

The forum will begin at 6 p.m. in the Michigan Union and will be followed by a vigil.

"[Students are] keenly aware of the racial divide brought upon by the killing and subsequent verdict reached by the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case," a press release from the Black Student Union reads.

On Saturday, Zimmerman, who identifies as Hispanic, was found not guilty of second-degree murder. He fatally shot Trayvon Martin, a black teenager, in February 2012 while patrolling for the neighborhood watch in a Florida gated community. Zimmerman contended that Martin posed a threat, although it was discovered Martin did not possess a weapon when he was shot.

The Associated Press reported that vigils were planned for more than 100 cities across the country.

Martin's killing and Zimmerman's subsequent trial sparked a national debate on race.

"It is our hope that once individuals are allowed to exercise their fundamental freedom of expression, that at the end of the day we can bridge the gap and remain united as a student body.” Arnold Reed, a student leader of the Black Student Union, said in the release.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 2:16 a.m.

Maybe they should discuss poor choices rather than race relations...

L. C. Burgundy

Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 1:32 a.m.

LOL. Does George Zimmerman identify as Hispanic the same way our President identifies as black?

Superior Twp voter

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 5:25 p.m.

Murders The United States is 3rd in murders throughout the World. But if you take out Chicago, Detroit, Washington D.C. and New Orleans, the United States is 4th from the bottom for murders. These 4 cities also have the toughest gun control laws in the United States, and are all controlled by Democrats. Does this tell you anything?


Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

look at murder rate, then we're in the middle.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 5:53 p.m.

That you cannot comprehend how it works? Correlation does not imply causation.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 5:36 p.m.

That gulags, work camps and disappearing works in other countries? Or that how murder is defined in the stats you cite are suspect?


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:53 p.m.

Karma gets everyone in the end. Mr. Zimmerman, it's only a matter of time before it catches up with you.

Jay Thomas

Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 1:41 a.m.

Zimmerman was made into a racist vigilante despite the fact that he is part black himself, has plenty of black friends (who stood by him through this), went to the prom with a black date, had a black business partner, volunteered to help tutor kids with the NAACP, and voted for Barack Obama twice (which he now regrets doing). Some racist. All starting with NBC distorting the 911 call where he was asked a direct question about what the person looked like. When he responded "black" he became a racial profiler to his accusers. Blue Marker: If Treyvon knew Zimmerman had a gun it may not have happened at all. There is no evidence he was aware of it until it was too late. Bcar: If G.Z. didn't have the gun it would be 17 year old child Treyvon Martin being prosecuted for assault (quite likely as an adult).


Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

you're correct blue. Z would be dead and Martin would be found guilty of murder if Z didnt have a gun.


Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 12:48 p.m.

100% correct. And he'll be getting his 7 figure payout from NBC soon. ;P


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 8:04 p.m.

Blue win the internet today!

Blue Marker

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 7:39 p.m.

In my opinion this whole situation happened because Zimmerman had a gun. I don't think a person of his stature looks to confront Martin if he doesn't. But once someone has a gun they're almost looking for a reason to use it. Think of the father in New York (I think) that shot his own son to death trying to protect the house next door from an intruder. Do you think he regrets buying that gun for his protection? I bet he does because it cost him everything. Now you have this cop-wannabe with a gun just looking for a chance to show what a man he is. I agree, Karma catches up to us all and George will get his.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 5:07 p.m.

Please explain your thought process.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:31 p.m.

So many inaccuracies CONTINUOUSLY perpetuated by people throughout this trial. It has been repeatedly claimed that Zimmerman disregarded the police when he followed Martin. That is false. 7:11:59 — In reply to the dispatcher's question, "Are you following him?" Zimmerman responds with, "Yes." Dispatcher: "OK, we don't need you to do that." Zimmerman: "OK." Phone records SPECIFICALLY show that zimmerman was ALREADY following him when the police dispatcher asked him to stop....TO WHICH HE REPLIED OK, and then COMPLIED WITH SAID REQUEST. So to say that he disregarded the "orders" of the police is a lie and a fallacy. He SPECIFICALLY complied with their request to stop following him. Look people....when you have to use LIES and FALSE INFORMATION to support your "side" then MAYBE you don't have it right...


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:43 p.m.

If he said OK and then stopped following him, how did the situation progress into a physical altercation and shooting? I thought Zimmerman was in his car. If so, he could have driven away. If he wasn't in his car, he should have proceeded to leave the area. No one will know what really happened but the jury has decided the outcome based upon the evidence. Those that claim race was the issue have been skewed by select portions of the 911 tapes presented by NBC.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

The whole situation would've been avoided if only the cop wannabe had done what the police asked him to do, not follow Mr. Martin but wait for the police. No wonder Zimmerman never made police officer, he couldn't even follow simple instructions. http://www.democraticunderground .com/1002490964

Jay Thomas

Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 1:28 a.m.

Every newspaper column I have read by a black liberal columnist has claimed that Martin was an unarmed child in fear for his life (their words). All the scared kids I have known would have run, hidden or continued walking home. They wouldn't have gone back and confronted the guy if they were in fear.

Roger Kuhlman

Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 3:44 p.m.

Why didn't Travon Martin call the police or go straight home when he noticed a suspicious person following him? He had both these opportunities but did not avail himself of them.


Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

or if martin decided to go home instead of attacking Z.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

It wasn't the police, it was a 911 phone person. They have no legal authority.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 3:50 p.m.

So the BLACK Student Union is keenly aware of racial divide?

Jay Thomas

Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 1:08 a.m.

DCW: Is there a White Student Union? The money to fund these groups comes from the tuition of all students but all students do not have an ethnic advocacy group.


Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 4:38 p.m.

So out of curiosity, what is the ethnic breakdown of the BSU, percentage-wise? AAPS also has a Black Parents' Student Support Group that is "welcome to all", but unfortunately, the name gives off the impression it is not welcome to all. Semantics, i guess...


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 7:59 p.m.

There are several UM campus organizations that cater to different ethnic groups? Do you find something inherently wrong with this? Students of other racial or ethnic backgrounds are not prohibited from joining BSU. In fact, it is encouraged in order to develop friendship and dialogue with people that you may not have other wise. I personally know White students who are in BSU as they're interested in Black culture; just as a non-Hispanic student would maybe join their ethnic group if they were interested in Hispanic culture... Why you don't you attend the forum and open discussion with these very intelligent and friendly youth who are concerned about ALL in their community.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 3:29 p.m.

As long as these vigils don't turn into some protest with people chanting "guilty" etc....I'm ok with it. If it turns into a loud protest...well then all it's doing is inflaming racial tensions...not calming them. Problem is...that's what a BUNCH of them have turned into across the county so I have to automatically be wary.

Jay Thomas

Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 1:20 a.m.

dsponini, by that logic someone could beat up a street person they deemed a threat for following them. Until they do something more you are committing a crime. That has actually happened and the NAACP got involved when it was a black homeless person that got beaten. Of course being amazingly consistent they have taken the other side of the argument on this case.

Jay Thomas

Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 1:13 a.m.

dsponini, you are wrong. Both morally and legally. We don't hand out concealed weapons permits in this state or Florida so people have to be beaten (possibly to death).


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 6:05 p.m.

Thank goodness none of the coaches had a gun. Stop rehashing an incident that you never witnessed!

Usual Suspect

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:22 p.m.

Remember, Billy, this is the same sort of mindset that said the football coaches "instigated a riot" by one of them pushing the other.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 3:57 p.m.

lol...following someone is not "instigating a fight." You should take a step back and realize that when you have to carefully construct something so that it appears to be something it is MIGHT be wrong. It's an extreme stretch to say that "following someone" is legal justification for self-defense...


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 3:50 p.m.

Zimmerman is guilty, the jury got it wrong. You don't get to kill someone because you are on the losing end of a fight (a fight that Zimmerman instigated by following this young man).

Usual Suspect

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

"Zimmerman contended that Martin posed a threat, although it was discovered Martin did not possess a weapon when he was shot. " This is either editorializing or just plain error (though I'm not surprised to see it). You're implying the possession of a weapon is necessary to be considered a threat, and this is of course incorrect. Just ask the El Paso police officer who was killed by an unarmed 17 year old.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:04 p.m.

Good point, I remember that. Turns out it was New York.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 3:31 p.m.

Wasn't there JUST a case here in SE michigan involving someone dieing from being punched only ONCE in the head?

Usual Suspect

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

"'[Students are] keenly aware of the racial divide brought upon by the killing and subsequent verdict reached by the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case,' a press release from the Black Student Union reads." The case didn't bring on any racial divide. That was introduced by racial dividers like Obama, Holder and The Justice Brothers.

Jay Thomas

Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 1:02 a.m.

By personalizing the case President Obama risked prejudicing a jury (thereby violating George Zimmerman's civil rights which he had taken an oath to protect as President). He should have stuck to having the F.B.I. investigate the case to double check that the local P.D. had done everything correctly (which was reasonable and something I would have wanted if it was my kid). Of course that investigation (led by a black F.B.I. man) found nothing had been done wrong by the Police and no racial angle or hate crime to the case. If you think I am wrong about Obama personalizing it, consider this... a white President interjects himself into a case of a black man allegedly raping a white girl and says, "this could be my daughter!" How would that not be a cue for some on a jury to convict?


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 6:28 p.m.

Insinuating President Obama is a racist fans the flame of bigotry.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 2:23 p.m.

I wonder if someone showed up and started punching people in the face, then bashing their heads into the pavement if any of these people would defend themselves?


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:43 p.m.

Hey Frotaine, Martin did not live in the neighborhood, his father's girlfriend did. Martin was sent by his mother to "stay" with his father for a few days because he had gotten into trouble at his mothers house. Trayvon did not live in that neighborhood.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 3:27 p.m.

Martin did live in the neighborhood. If Zimmerman was so concerned about his neighbors why did he not know who was living there? You can call the police on a suspicious person in your neighborhood, but do you also strap on your gun and follow them in your car? Why would he leave the area? He was going home. The only race baiter on this response thread seems to be you since your post has the first mention of it. Please list your progressive neighborhood that allows random people to do a stop and frisk, I want to avoid those land mines.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

Yeah! It's okay to bash their heads in the pavement if they are following you....


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

To the three responses, Martin did not live in that gated community. Zimmerman had every right to question the suspicious person. I'm told to call the authorities every time I see a suspicious person in my community. Martin should have left the area and none of this would have happened. Race baiters have turned this into a circus, it's a clear cut case of self defense.

Resident A2

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

This whole tragedy never would have happened if he had followed the police instructions and not followed this young man. He was specifically told NOT to follow him, yet, he continued. Self Defense....give me a break!


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

Trayvon "showed up" to bash Zimmerman in the head? Is that how it went down?