My Name is Trayvon Martin

Men, women and children of all races and nationalities have expressed outrage for the senseless murder of Trayvon Martin on February 26, in Sanford, Florida.  Trayvon Martin was a 17-year old, unarmed – male who was shot and killed while walking through his father’s gated community wearing a hoodie, talking on the cell phone with his girlfriend and carrying a bag of skittles and Arizona ice tea.

Trayvon Martin

There are so many articles, posts, tweets, news reports and other media outlets that have shared the horrific details of this event. In honor of Trayvon Martin, thousands marched through the streets of New York City on March 21st for the “Million Hoodie March.” The faith community participated in what they called “Hoodie Sunday,” March 25th in order to show their support to the memory of Trayvon Martin and March 31st, hundreds marched in a “March for Justice” in Jamaica, Queens.

Many opinions have been shared in regards to this shooting. Some believe Zimmerman’s cry of self-defense, and many believe Zimmerman was a trigger-happy racist. Then, there’s Geraldo Rivera who suggests that the “hoodie” worn by Trayvon Martin contributed to his death.

Dear Mr. Rivera, an article of clothing should not by any means give anyone reason to stalk, pursue or murder an unarmed male, just like a mini skirt or tank top should not give anyone the green light to sexually assault someone. While we may not agree with choices in attire, it does not give others the right to judge or be judged.

This morning, I had to make a quick Target run to pick up some items for my home. As I’ve done on numerous occasions, I put on a pair of leggings, t-shirt and a “hoodie,” grabbed my pocketbook, car keys and ran out the door.  As a woman (and if you’re a woman reading this, you may identify) I often encounter what I consider “bad hair days” and opt to put on a hat or like today, I wear my “hoodie,” throw the hood over my head, put on my sunglasses and take care of my business. Without thinking, this morning I did just that, and as I pulled into the parking lot of Target, got out of my car wearing my sunglasses and hoodie over my head, it hit me… “I Am Trayvon Martin.” I never thought twice about wearing a hoodie. As a grad student, I wore hoodies to class, my brother, who is a retired NYC Detective, lives in hoodies (not literally), This past Christmas, I had my brother search numerous stores in Manhattan to purchase Nike’s limited edition “Lazy But Talented” hoodie for my boyfriend. And I think about my nieces and nephew, all of who are athletes – they wear hoodies constantly.

As I walked toward the store, I found myself wondering, in light of the Trayvon Martin case, what would people think of me wearing my hoodie? Did I seem like a threat walking through the store with my hoodie on? In all honesty, the “woman” part of me kept thinking about my hair and what a sight that would be should I remove the hoodie from my head. However, in that moment between the walk from my car to the entrance I decided to wear my hoodie with pride, head held high and take a stand. It was my private tribute to Trayvon Martin, as well as the fearful awakening to the reality of that fateful night of February 26, in Sanford, Florida when a young 17-year old, unarmed African-American male was chased and gunned down by a self-appointed, gun-toting, insecure person named George Zimmerman.

So… Mr. Geraldo Rivera, children, athletes, celebrities, college-students and people of every race, age-group, gender and nationality wear hoodies. The day I walked for Alzheimer’s, I wore my purple hoodie; last year, when I walked for Cancer awareness, I also wore my hoodie, the numerous nights I walked the grounds of my college campus I wore my hoodie and today, as I walked alone to take care of my personal business, I wore my hoodie.

Had an armed insecure man or woman, African-American, Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic because I looked suspicious – fatally approached me would you blame my hoodie?

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