Hoodies take to the street in Ypsi in memory of Trayvon Martin, Monday at 6:00 PM

As I mentioned a few days ago, I think Geraldo Rivera did the people a America a big favor when he went on FOX News and said that Trayvon Martin deserved some of the blame for having been murdered, seeing as how he chose to wear a hooded sweatshirt, “like a gangster.” In doing that, Gerlado gave us all a way in which we could, without much effort, and without putting ourselves in danger, show our support for Trayvon Martin’s family, and illustrate our desire to see justice served in this horrific case. He provided us with a symbol to rally around. No matter who we were, all we had to do was wear a hoodie, and the meaning would be immediately known. And, this weekend, social media sites were bursting with images of harmless old people, adorable kids, sports teams, and college students in hoodies, asking if they, like the unarmed, 17 year old Trayvon, also deserved to be shot. Well, it looks as though the movement has finally reached Ypsilanti. I just received the following invitation from a friend, and it looks as though people will be lining Michigan Avenue tomorrow at 6:00 PM, wearing their hoodies in memory of Trayvon. If you should happen to be driving by, please honk. Or, better yet, join us.

I should add that I’m not suggesting, in any way, that walking around in a hoodie is, in and of itself, a sufficient response to what what happened in Florida. I’m not suggesting that people should walk around for a few minutes, then go back home to watch reality television, feeling as though they’d just taken part in the modern equivalent of the Montgomery bus boycott. This is admittedly a small thing, but, if I can speak for the organizers, it isn’t meant to trivialize the important issues at stake. This is simply neighbors getting together to demonstrate to those driving by that we care, that we’re paying attention, and that there’s a growing community of like-minded people out there, even in small towns like Ypsilanti, Michigan. And, in my opinion, anything that get strangers out of their houses and apartments, talking about human rights, and the future of our country, is a good thing. And, while it’s true that this may be a small gesture, as least it’s something. At least it’s better than going home, flopping down on the couch, and turning on the television.

I’d also like to say something about the story coming out of Orlando today that Martin was the aggressor, attacking Zimmerman. (The police claim to have a witness that says Martin, at some point during the altercation, was on top of Zimmerman, beating him.) In the minds of some, this changes everything. From my perspective, it doesn’t change a thing. We still have a young man, who, to my knowledge, had not broken any laws, when an overzealous want-to-be cop, armed with a gun, headed after him, against the explicit instructions of a police dispatcher, saying, “These guys always get away.” Granted, we still don’t know everything that transpired, but, judging from what we do know, I’d be hard pressed to assign blame to Martin for attempting to defend himself against the armed man that was stocking him. (Wasn’t Martin simply defending himself under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law?) And, whatever the facts were, I think there’s a broader discussion to be had, and I think that’s why this case is resonating so strongly with people. Not only does it touch on race, but it also brings into sharp focus the fact that we now live in a low-tax world where more and more of us are getting guns to protect ourselves, and those with the means to do so are moving into gated communities, policed by poorly-trained private security forces. This isn’t just about race, this is about fear, taxes, and the kind of world that we want to live in.

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  1. Kim Kents
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    In Detroit, on Hart Plaza, at the same time


  2. stan chaz
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 1:41 am | Permalink

    Blame the Hoodie? Walking while black with a hoodie, punishable by death?? Have we come to this???
    GIVE ME A BREAK. Hey, the poor kid was running in the rain …..and being stalked …….and ….I’M SORRY…but we don’t ALL use Totes umbrellas when going to the corner grocery store for a snack. NOR should we risk losing our very lives while doing so! Mr. Rivera: you should be ashamed of your inane, insensitive comments about Trayvon’s death, and your attempts to create “excuses” for the inexcusable actions of judge-jury-and-executioner George Zimmerman (…AND…those that would imitate him). We are becoming a society that seeks and sees threats under every rock; a frightened society that sees danger with every “other” that is not just like us;  a manipulated society with control-freaks running rampant (whether politicians or mayors or police chiefs or individuals). Power-hungry people that are only too eager to take advantage of our fears; that are only too willing to get away with anything and everything that they can, as they deprive us of our our liberty (and sometimes our lives)…..all in the name of defending it. What a shell game. But were it only a game. For it includes the worst provisions of the Patriot Act, the police spying on innocent people, “papers-please” and stop&frisk gone wild, the “right” to indefinitely detain Americans without trial, and out-of-control homicidal vigilantes such as we have tragically seen here. It’s a serious, slippery slope… one that ultimately leads to a police state/Orwellian mentality that is more typical of places such as China or Cuba – NOT the America that I know and love. We USED to stand proud and free, and contrasted our open society to such sorry places. Now we imitate them. Our country is better than this. Our values are better than this. WE are better than this. Don’t blame the hoodie……blame what we are becoming, and allowing, and doing as a society. As Shakespeare once said: the fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves: For we have come to accept things that should NEVER be accepted by a freedom-loving people. It’s time… it’s way past time, to reverse course. Let bring some good out of this tragedy…. and work to never let it happen again. You DO have the power, my friend. USE IT.

  3. Kristin
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    That hoodie thing is a little too cute for me. It doesn’t seem to bother his parents, but I think you were right on when you said “without much trouble.” If I was that boy’s mother I would say “Thanks for the hoodie thing, I guess. Now go change the world so this sort of thing doesn’t happen.”

  4. SparkleMotion
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    I’m inclined to agree with Kristin, it reminds me a lot of that “porch lights on for Casey Anthony’s kid” thing that happened last year whereas people got to feel like they were doing something by doing something they were doing every night anyway. And the next day we get to wake up, go to work, and put this behind us.

  5. Edward
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Anything that brings attention to this case is a good thing. Too cute? Maybe. Too easy? Maybe. As long as it works, I don’t care.

  6. Posted March 26, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Your statement was outrageous. So you must feel that if a woman was wearing a mini skirt and a halter top she deserved to get raped. Don’t say that is different because as you allready know rape is a Violent act the same as murder. Smdh.

  7. Tommy
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    OWS just found their ‘uniform’.

  8. b
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    i also agree with kristin, although for those who may not have other ways of helping this is at least shining some light on the tragedy instead of simply ignoring it.

  9. Mr. X
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    This, to quote Joe Biden, is “a big fucking deal.” And not just because an unarmed young man was shot and killed because of how he looked, and what he wore. This illustrates what we’re in danger of becoming as a nation, as we lay off cops and begin to take justice into our own (untrained, fearful) hands. Yes, it’s a very small thing to put on a hoodie and stand on a street corner. Yes, our time might be better spent, writing checks to the ACLU and calling our members of Congress. But, it’s important that we visibly take a stand, and show other people that a movement is growing, that some of us intend to fight back. Symbols may seem trivial, but they’re important. And this will have an impact on the people who drive down Michigan Avenue tonight at 6:00.

  10. Kristin
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Nobody said it wasn’t a BFD. In fact I think it’s such a BFD that it deserves not to be trivialized as a meme, but that’s just my perception.

  11. EOS
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Are you all going to wear your cracker t-shirts under your hoodies?


    Who will benefit from the killing of Zimmerman? Why not wait until the grand jury looks at all the evidence?

  12. Marcia
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I am inclined to think the symbolic act does mean something to his parents , and is a cultural message that can be absorbed by others. I personally didn’t do it, and I don’t think this is a replacement for doing something about legislation. However, if that were my kid, I might take some comfort in knowing that people were listening and trying to show they cared.

  13. kjc
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    EOS, I can’t imagine why Peter thinks you’re racist.

  14. anonymous
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Let’s call it even. Because George Zimmerman kind of lost his life too.


  15. Knox
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    With the murder of in San Diego by the name of Shaima Alawadi a few days ago, the meme is widening. Now it’s hoodies and hijabs. A note next to Alawadi’s body said, “Go back to your own country, you terrorist.” She’d been beaten to death with a tire iron.


  16. Josh
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Hey, I’m not even in your mad country were kids get suspended from school, punch bus drivers and pose for photos as thugs…YET are cast as innocent angels, but let’s see what obviously happened.

    Zimmerman was injured in an a physical attack, they both fell to the ground, Trayvon went for the firearm covering the case port but Zimmerman had it by the handle, the weapon discharged and the case stayed in the chamber because Trayvon’s hand stopped it cycling.

    Obama needs black votes again so instead of reporting on the 6 people shot dead in Chicago this week (including a little girl) you are all being drummed up into anger because after all this was “Obama’s son”. So who was the little girl’s daddy mr President?

  17. b
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    knox- i read about this also…horrible and frightening…i am baffled by the increase of senseless and cruel killings…

  18. Posted March 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I really have no idea why I think that EOS is racist, either.


  19. Posted March 26, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    EOS, are you stupid? Cause I’m pretty sure you are.

    The outrage has been because Zimmerman wasn’t immediately arrested and charged.

  20. EOS
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    “With a single punch,” the Orlando Sentinel, citing police sources, reported Monday, “Trayvon Martin decked the Neighborhood Watch volunteer … climbed on top of [him] and slammed his head into the sidewalk several times, leaving him bloody and battered.”

    “That is the account Zimmerman gave police,” the paper said, “and much of it has been corroborated by witnesses, authorities say.”

    Zimmerman’s attorney, Craig Sonner, says that Zimmerman acted in self-defense and is not a racist as some have portrayed him.

    “I think we need to let the investigation come forward and let all the facts in this case come out,” Sonner said on the “Today” show. “I think it’s going to tell a different story than the way it’s been related and portrayed in the media.”

    All I’m saying is wait until all the facts come out before you rush to judgement based only on the racial identities of the two involved. To assume guilt based solely on race is in fact racism.

  21. Bob
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Peter Larson seems to go for the racist accusation pretty quickly and pretty frequently. He’s probably right about EOS, but it’s still pretty tiresome. And Mark, I know your heart is in the right place but that comic book graphic of Trayvon Martin kind of bums me out. It’s sort of in bad taste imho.

  22. john
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Bob you are right about Peter his racism is so out there in your face all the time it’s really sickening. I accused him of that not long ago and got the “Your a racist” treatment from him. It’s getting pretty bad when racists can spew their racist hate and people just look the other way.

  23. john
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    “The outrage has been because Zimmerman wasn’t immediately arrested and charged.”
    No Peter the outrage is because you’re not willing to let the facts come out before calling for a lynching.

  24. dragon
    Posted March 29, 2012 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    “With a single punch,” the Orlando Sentinel, citing police sources, reported Monday, “Trayvon Martin decked the Neighborhood Watch volunteer … climbed on top of [him] and slammed his head into the sidewalk several times, leaving him bloody and battered.”

    Are you going to stick with this story?

  25. EOS
    Posted March 29, 2012 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    No, I’m waiting till all the facts come out before I form an opinion. I think there’s is likely to be a reason other than pure racism that has let Zimmerman not be held under arrest.

  26. Edward
    Posted March 29, 2012 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    “I’m waiting till all the facts come out before I form an opinion.”

    I call bullshit.

  27. Motion
    Posted March 29, 2012 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    I move that we give EOS small type prefaced by a disclaimer, a la DesignatedSalad.

  28. Eel
    Posted March 29, 2012 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Footage of Zimmerman entering the police station the night of the murder shows that he had no broken nose. He looks unscathed.


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  1. […] been made over the past eight years — since we gathered on the Michigan Avenue sidewalk to mark the murder of Trayvon Martin — I take some comfort in seeing how much the movement has grown. Of course, I wish we […]

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