This Wednesday, March 28th, New York City Council Members will wear hoodies at an action on the steps of City Hall at 12:30 PM to call for justice for Trayvon Martin. After a brief press conference, participating Council Members and their staff will attend the Council’s Stated meeting in their hoodies. They will also bring Skittles and iced tea, which Trayvon carried as he was shot and killed because he looked “like he [was] up to no good.” This action is being coordinated by Council Members Melissa Mark-Viverito and Letitia James, and several Council Members have already confirmed their participation (list in formation).
“The senseless murder of Trayvon Martin is an unspeakable tragedy and his family deserves justice,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Incidents like these only serve as a reminder of how much further we as a society have to go until all people are treated equally. As the 911 calls from that tragic night demonstrate, Trayvon was targeted strictly based on his appearance. The fact that George Zimmerman has not been brought up on any charges only reinforces the cynicism in communities of color about our law enforcement and criminal justice systems. I send my deepest condolences to Trayvon’s family and remain hopeful that, with the growing pressure being felt throughout the nation, his killer will be brought to justice. This Wednesday, we will send the message that the City Council will not stand silent against such flagrant injustices, no matter where they occur.”
“The sad reality of the Trayvon Martin tragedy is one that plagues urban communities throughout America,” said Council Member Letitia James. “People of color, particularly young men of color, are faced with bouts of racism each day. As I zip up my hoodie, sip my iced tea, and snack on some Skittles, I extend my heart to the Martin family and demand justice for Trayvon.”
The hoodie has emerged as a symbol to remember Trayvon’s story and the failure of the Sanford Police Department to bring his killer to justice. Last week, Trayvon’s parents joined a Million Hoodie March in Union Square and on Friday, nearly 300 Congressional staffers held a “Hoodies on the Hill” protest. Yesterday, congregants in churches across New York City wore hoodies to call for an end to discrimination.
“Wearing a hoodie should not be a death sentence,” said Council Member Debi Rose. “Today, we are standing in solidarity with all of the Trayvons, cut down in their prime solely because of how they look and what they wear. The choice of clothing that one chooses to wear should not relegate them to unwarranted search, negative profiling, or the most tragic of outcomes, death. All people of good conscience and a sense of justice must stand to ensure that this type of vigilante justice is stopped now.
“As a parent of two teenage children I am concerned about their safety and this tragic incident underscores my and many other parents fears in the African-American community. It is important we come together as a community, city, and nation, in order to understand why and how this took place so we can stop these calamities from occurring in the future,” said Council Member Leroy Comrie. “The attempt to hide behind the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law in this situation is transparent and the profiling that took place in this matter is disturbing. Listening to the chilling 9-1-1 account as Trayvon called for help, compelled me to work with my local Community Council to organize a march and rally this Saturday at 10:00am in Southeast Queens to not only protest, but also to educate our youth about their rights. My hearts and prayers go out to Trayvon Martin and his family in this difficult time and I hope justice will prevail.”
Earlier today, Speaker Christine Quinn announced that she would be introducing a resolution with Council Members Mark-Viverito, James and other colleagues “that will condemn this killing, the weaknesses in its investigation and the lack of an arrest. Our resolution will also call for an examination of stand your ground laws nationwide, including their impact on increasing the flow of illegal guns to New York City.”
“Trayvon Martin has tragically become something far more than a boy who senselessly lost his life. His death has become a cry for us to do more to confront ongoing racism in this country,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “I hope that the local police will make an arrest today, and that the Justice Department will investigate whether this was a hate crime. But more than that: I hope we will all see the need to confront the enduring racial bias that too often persists, so deeply rooted in our personal reactions, our neighborhoods, our workplaces, our policing practices, and our public policies. Let’s work to honor Trayvon’s memory by doing more to advance Dr. King’s dream, toward which we still have so far to go.”
“Wearing a hoodie shouldn’t be a capital offense” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “Trayvon’s death struck a chord in New York City because we’ve seen far too many young Black and Latino men killed unjustly. Council Members James and Mark-Viverito have brought the Council together to stand up against this injustice, and I’ll be wearing a hoodie with them to show that Trayvon’s death will not be forgotten.”
“Trayvon’s life was cut short at the promising age of 17. Thanks to runaway gun laws, his loved ones will be unable to see him reach his full potential as a scholar or an athlete. His loss reminds us all of the dangers of intolerance, while the inadequate handling of his death by the Sanford City Police Department highlights the need to reform radical gun policies,” said Council Member Robert Jackson.
“In the face of this terrible tragedy, we must coalesce and demand justice for the unwarranted death of Trayvon Martin,” said NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Queens). “I would like to express my deepest sympathies to Trayvon’s family and call upon local law enforcement to fully and fairly investigate the case because such blatant injustices are not acceptable in our society.”
“In this country, we need to have a clear and quick response to profiling and biased murders, whether committed by civilians or police officers,” said Council Member Rosie Mendez. “We demand justice for Trayvon Martin as well as for all New Yorkers who have been subject to profiling.”
“The Trayvon Martin incident was a horrible tragedy that never should have happened — and certainly not in this country,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick. “The investigation needs to be swift and comprehensive, and must conclude in a way that ensures that justice is served.”
“This madness must stop! We demand justice, before we are forced into desperate means to protect ourselves,” said Council Member Charles Barron. “The Department of Justice should immediately arrest George Zimmerman and begin the prosecution of this case.”
“There is no experience worse for a parent than losing a child. For the parents of young Trayvon Martin though, the situation is made more unbearable due to Stand your Ground, outrageous legislation passed by the politicians in Florida. George Zimmerman, the murderer, might remain free because he claims that he felt threatened even though Mr. Martin was unarmed and returning from the store. Without this law, Trayvon might be alive or, at the very least, we could rest assured that justice would prevail. I look forward to standing with my colleagues in the City Council in my hoodie to remember Trayvon Martin and demand justice for his family,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer.