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Posters Featuring Trayvon Martin Defaced On WSU Campus

Carla Eckels

Posters with images of African-American Trayvon Martin were defaced recently at Wichita State University.  The posters were advertising a diversity discussion, which was held Wednesday called "Does My Hoodie Scare You?"

Danielle Johnson is the program director for the WSU Office of Multicultural Affairs. She says someone scratched out the photo of Trayvon Martin on one and drew in a Hitler-style mustache on another. A third poster was marked with a large X.

"So someone took the time to deface the pictures," she says.

Student Wilma Foster says the Trayvon posters made her wonder about race relationships on campus. She's concerned something could be brewing underneath the surface that would make someone want to vandalize the posters in that way.

"That's an expression of something inwardly that's very negative and perhaps even very deep that may end up surfacing over a short or long period of time," she says.

But student Jared Higgins says the actions are students just being students.

"I don't think that it strongly makes a point one way or the other," he says. "Like I think the biggest is the Hitler mustache that someone drew on Trayvon's face is the biggest kind of thing that proves this, that it was party students."

Martin was killed by George Zimmerman who was acquitted by a jury in July. Most students agreed the dialogue about the shooting death of Martin was helpful in learning more about the legal process and about the racial issues that surfaced as a result of the slaying of the teen. 

Carla Eckels is Director of Cultural Diversity for News and Engagement at KMUW. She produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations and brings stories of race and culture to The Range with the monthly segment In the Mix. Carla was inducted into The Kansas African American Museum's Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2020 for her work in broadcast/journalism.