Tallahassee, FL - On Dec. 1, just after sunset, Black student organizations from Florida State University (FSU) and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) held a candlelight vigil for Jordan Davis. Davis, a 17-year-old Black teen was violently gunned down in Jacksonville while in the backseat of a friend's car by a middle-aged white male bigot, supposedly over the volume of the car's music.
On Nov. 23, Michael Dunn unloaded a vicious barrage of eight shots into a SUV parked in a Duval County gas station. Two rounds struck and killed young Davis. Although arrested the next day at his south Florida home, the Dunn defense relys on Florida’s Stand Your Ground law for protection from justice.
Although the vigil did not directly address this law, it did address the system which demonizes black males as a threat to the white-supremacist system. Reminiscent of vigils for the hate-crime homicide of Trayvon Martin, the mostly Black, 50-student vigil heard speeches condemning the deep-seeded and perpetual association of Black being an inherent threat - an association solely supported by a crutch of bigotry.
Kristen Bonner, president of Dream Defenders at FSU spoke to the crowd, saying “I'm tired. Tired of Black skin being associated with adjectives such as threatening, suspicious and dangerous. I'm tired of only knowing that these Black youth have existed because they are dead.”
Also present at the vigil were leaders from FAMU Dream Defenders, Progressive Black Men INC. and the Black Student Union at FSU. Shantel Moten, Assistant Director of Pride at FSU (an LGBTQ student organization) said in her speech, “We need to fight back against the white hetero-patriarchal system.”