Philadelphians outraged by the Trayvon Martin case will rally Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Love Park. Organizers are asking that protestors show up wearing hoodies as a show of support for the unarmed black teenager gunned down by a Hispanic neighborhood watch captain.
“Enough is enough. This was just blatant discrimination,” said Chris Norris, a lead organizer. “It’s blatant racism. I can’t believe it happened. I feel like I’m in a dream.”
(Organizers also are putting together a Million Hoodie March in support of Martin for tomorrow beginning at 30th Street Station and heading to Love Park. Event takes place around 7 p.m.)
Martin, was killed Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla., in a gated community after buying candy at a convenience store. He was unarmed and was wearing a sweat shirt with a head covering which is called a hoodie when he was confronted by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman claims the teen attacked him and that he shot Martin in self-defense. The watch captain, who had been warned by a police dispatcher not to follow Martin, hasn’t been charged.
The killing touched a long-frayed racial nerve as word spread around the country on social media. Norris, who is active in the Occupy Philadelphia movement, told me that news about Martin’s killing reignited painful memories of his being a 20-year-old black man living in Austin, Tex., and being routinely followed by police. Norris was so unsettled that he began making YouTube videos to raise awareness about it and he also got involved with a Facebook group to discuss it. He and some friends decided to get together and the idea of a mass rally in Philadelphia grew from there.
“We’re asking people to bring their hoodies and to wear their hoodies. We’ll light candles,” said Norris, chief executive of the Philly-based company Techbook Online. “This is a peaceful, spiritual vigil.”
On Wednesday, New Yorkers gathered for a rally called the Million Hoodie March in memory of Martin. Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mother, told the crowd: "This is not a black and white thing - this is about a right or wrong thing."
Even as organizers spread the word about Monday’s gathering in Center City, there’s controversy brewing about that as I couldn’t help but notice on Facebook. “I’m, like, are you kidding me?” said Sixx King, who has been posting on Facebook about what he perceives as a double standard in terms of how the case is being viewed. King, who’s the director of a new film called “Mothers of No Tomorrow,” said people are so worked up about what happened to Martin, that they aren't focused on larger issues such as that of urban crime. "Wearing a hoodie in support of Trayvon Martin is so disrespectful," he wrote.
What do you think? And are you planning to attend Monday’s rally?
For more info about Monday's rally log onto https://www.facebook.com/philly4trayvon
The Associated Press contributed to this report.