East Village Church Invites People To 'Wear A Hoodie To Church' For Trayvon Martin

Steven Thrasher
Following Wednesday's "Million Hoodie March" for Trayvon Martin -- the Florida 17-year-old who was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in February -- one New York church is asking people to wear hoodies to service Sunday. "Come to our multiracial/multicultural community, Middle Church, on Sunday; wear your hoodie and plan to pray for healing," Senior Minister Jacqui Lewis wrote on her blog on the Middle Collegiate Church's website. The hoodie has become a symbol of the racial profiling at the center of the uproar surrounding the case. Martin, a black man, was wearing one when he was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer who had described Martin has suspicious in a 911 call.

The same day Geraldo Rivera essentially supported the stereotyping by saying that he believes "the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman was," Basketball star Lebron James tweeted a picture of himself and his Miami Heat teammates wearing hoodies and standing in a solemn pose to honor Martin.

In fact, the case has become filled with symbols. Runnin' Scared noted that bags Skittles were used to remind the crowd Wednesday that Martin was unarmed when he was shot.

The Middle Collegiate service Sunday will also feature music written for Martin and Lewis' sermon, which she calls a "call to action." In the blog post she wrote:

We have to fix this; we have to address the ways racism in these United States is like a virus that mutates and continues to infect us. Our children are not born to hate nor are they born with fear. But adults who have the virus can harm them, and children can catch the virus, too.

It can feel overwhelming, addressing racism, but we have to do it.

We reached out to Lewis to see if we can hear more, and we'll update if we hear back.

In a new development in the Martin case, the lawyer for George Zimmerman, the man who shot Martin, said Florida's Stand Your Ground law was "not really applicable to this case,' according to CNN. One of the focuses in the outrage over Martin's death has been the fact that Zimmerman has not been arrested. Stand Your Ground -- which allows people to retaliate to a perceived grave threat with deadly force -- has been used to explain why Zimmerman has not been charged.

"The statute on 'stand your ground' is primarily when you're in your house," the lawyer, Craig Sonner, said. "This is self-defense, and that's been around for forever -- that you have a right to defend yourself. So the next issue (that) is going to come up is, was he justified in using the amount of force he did?"

Florida Governor Rick Scott created a task force to examine the law, a decision which President Barack Obama commended yesterday.

Update: 1:04 p.m.
We got a chance to talk with Lewis, who explained that even before the Trayvon Martin case arose she had planned to "address the ongoing racial tension in America" in her sermon, provoked to do so by stories like that of Ramarley Graham. Then she heard about Martin.

"This just grew so organically," she said.

Lewis, who wrote a post on the subject for the Huffington Post, said of the movement surrounding Martin's death: "This is a great moment in time for us to understand that we haven't really healed this. We're not post-race in America."

She added that after the service church-goers will take "mug shots" in their hoodies holding signs "I'm not dangerous, racism is." Those will then be shared via social media.



[EstherZuckerman / ezwrites]

Go to Runnin' Scared for all our latest news coverage.

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this hoodie hooplah is out of control!don't judge people by what they wear!why, just last month, my cousin was roughed up walking into a bank -- just because of his ski mask! 

stan chaz
stan chaz

Blame the Hoodie? GIVE ME A BREAK. It was raining .... the kid was running .....and being stalked .......and ....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, 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 eager to get away with anything and everything that they can, that are only too willing to 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 slippery slope 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 have the strength and courage to reverse course.

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