BE THERE. BE TOGETHER.
Justice for Trayvon Martin rally, Monday, 6 p.m., at Hart Plaza on the Detroit River. Details here.
March 26 is a national day of action for anyone who would like to wear a hoodie without being killed. It’s a national day of action for everyone who is outraged that shooting another person just because they don’t like their looks can be called self-defense.
Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old Miami kid who was shot to death on Feb. 26 in a Florida scrub town by a man who found his appearance suspicious.
Trayvon, visiting family in Sanford, Florida, was walking in the rain, carrying a pack of Skittles and a can of iced tea. He was unarmed. He was wearing a gray hoodie. He was black.
George Zimmerman, the 28-year-old man who shot Trayvon, has been called a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain — with a 9mm handgun. In an edited copy of his 911 call to police, Zimmerman called the teenager “a real suspicious guy” and said: “They always get away.” Zimmerman sounds breathless. The wind is buffeting his phone. The dispatcher asks Zimmerman if he’s following the youth. “Yes,” Zimmerman says. The dispatcher tells him not to. “We don’t need you to do that.”
Trayvon Martin’s girlfriend, who was on the phone with him at the time, described his end of a confrontation with Zimmerman: “Trayvon said ‘What are you following me for?’ and the man said ‘What are you doing here?’ ”
Zimmerman was watching a gated community. Trayvon was walking back to the home of his father’s girlfriend — within the gates.
It took weeks, and growing public outcry from thousands of people, for Trayvon’s death to attract national attention. George Zimmerman has never been arrested. If a black man had shot and killed Zimmerman, he’d most likely be in jail without bond.
Almost a week ago, the U.S. Justice Department announced it was investigating what Sanford Police would not. The Florida attorney general’s office sent the case to a grand jury.
After Trayvon’s death, Sanford police tested his body for drugs. No one tested George Zimmerman. The chief of police (who’s since been forced to step aside) said he believed Zimmerman’s claim of self defense. Florida was the first of at least 17 states to pass a so-called Stand Your Ground law. The 2005 law allows someone who perceives a threat to shoot without first trying to retreat.
Thousands of people rallied in Sanford on Friday, shouting Trayvon’s name and demanding Zimmerman’s arrest for what they call a racist killing. Thousands more have protested across the nation, calling for an investigation into the behavior of the Sanford police department.
On Monday, rallies nationwide are expected to draw at least a million people wearing hoodie sweatshirts and jackets to demand justice for a boy who was killed for no reason 21 days after his 17th birthday.
Sanford, Florida, trivia:
Its history includes running Jackie Robinson and his wife out of town with threats of violence when the Brooklyn Dodgers started training camp there 1946. In response, according to a book by Arthur Ashe, the Dodgers moved the entire spring training camp to Daytona Beach — and never looked back.