Trayvon Martin

Nearly 16 months after the shooting death of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., the man charged with second-degree murder is due in court Monday for the start of his trial.

Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The fallout from The Daily Texan’s publication of a controversial editorial cartoon is carrying on, this time in a different direction.

A UT student has launched an online petition to reinstate Stephanie Eisner, the Texan editorial cartoonist whose cartoon, she said, attacked what she saw as biased coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting.

A 17-year old African-American, Martin was shot by George Zimmerman in a gated Florida community last month. Zimmerman claimed the shooting was in self-defense; Martin was unarmed. A wave of demonstrations, with protesters clad in hooded sweatshirts like Martin wore, have occurred across the county, including Austin.

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Texan Issues Formal Apology for Trayvon Martin Cartoon

The editors from The Daily Texan issued an apology regarding the controversial Trayvon Martin cartoon the paper published on Tuesday.

The cartoonist, Stephanie Eisner, no longer works for the paper.

In their apology, the student editors admit to showing “a failure in judgment.” Yesterday the editors of the Texan met with angry students and protestors to discuss the paper’s decision to publish the cartoon and the editorial team’s oversight in recognizing the sensitive nature of the cartoon.

Photo courtesy of Raymond Thomas

Students and activists assembled outside the offices of The Daily Texan this afternoon, demanding answers about the controversial Trayvon Martin editorial cartoon the student newspaper ran Tuesday. What editorial process vetted the cartoon? Will the firestorm result in any changes at the Texan? And is the cartoon’s publication symptomatic of a broader problem on campus?

About 40 people engaged in a tense discussion with members of the Texan’s editorial staff. Staff members apologized for running the cartoon, promising a formal apology to supplement a terse statement the paper released yesterday and another the cartoonist sent today.

Discussion dwelt on the editorial process that oversaw the comic’s publication. Viviana Aldous, Texan Editor in Chief, said at least five editors at the paper vetted the cartoon before publication – the five members of the editorial team, plus copy editors.

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As we reported earlier, a student political cartoonist at The Daily Texan has received national attention for a cartoon on the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida. The cartoon by Stephanie Eisner has received criticism from across the country as an offensive depiction of national media coverage.

Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Close to three hundred protesters donned hoodies and gathered at the gates of the State Capitol Tuesday night in remembrance of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. It was a silent protest. It’s one in a series of rallies across the country this week that expressed anger over Martin’s killing by a neighborhood watch volunteer. 

Austin attorney James Nortey helped organize the event. He says the group spread the word about the protest almost exclusively through social media and word-of-mouth. Nortey says he's pleased with the Austin community for showing up.

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The killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17 year-old African-American, by self-described neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, has sparked a national discussion about racial profiling and vigilante justice.

It has also prompted a more critical look at so-called “stand your ground” laws in Florida, the state where the incident took place, and across the nation, including Texas.

Police in the Orlando suburb of Sanford have yet to arrest Zimmerman, as Florida law permits the use of deadly force in self-defense. (Despite reports that he was the party to instigate the confrontation, Zimmerman says he did act in self-defense.)