Alabama State University is responding to controversy surrounding its band and a recent football game's half-time show.
During Saturday's game against Jackson State, ASU's Mighty Marching Band members lined up in a way on the field that spelled out "Trayvon" while they played the song "Amazing Grace".
Trayvon, referring to Trayvon Martin, was a teen whose case sparked nationwide outrage after he was shot to death by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Florida last year. Zimmerman was later found not guilty by a jury.
Following the band's decision, the director of the ASU Marching Band, James Oliver, issued a statement on the controversy. It reads:
"ASU's Mighty Marching Hornets Band's halftime
show utilized the tragic death of Trayvon Martin as a symbolic recognition that
far too many young men die of senseless gun violence.
Ours was a call to conscience of all those who wish
to protect our children and to build community.
We spelled out the name 'Trayvon' while the
band played 'Amazing Grace' as a tribute to all the families who have lost
It had nothing to do with a jury's verdict, but
everything to do with the sanctity of life and the amazing grace that only God
can give as we deal with tragedies such as the loss of a child."
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