California lawmakers plan to wear hoodies Thursday to protest the killing of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teenager who was shot to death last month by a neighborhood watch volunteer.
Members of the Black, Latino and Asian Pacific Islander caucuses will don hooded jackets and hold a morning news conference in the Capitol to show solidarity with Martin’s family, who have said their son was a victim of racial profiling. George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer, has admitted to shooting Martin but says that he acted in self-defense.
He followed Martin for several minutes on Feb. 26, telling police that the boy looked suspicious because he was hearing a hoodie.
“Just as we recognize Denim Day each year to signify that you can’t blame a woman for her own rape for wearing jeans, you can’t blame this young man for his own death because he chose to wear what nearly every teen in America has in his or her closet,” said Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) in a statement. “Trayvon Martin was killed because George Zimmerman assumed a black teen walking in his neighborhood must be up to no good and took it upon himself to serve as judge, jury and executioner.”
The case has sparked national outrage and demonstrations. On Monday, the one-month anniversary of the shooting, protesters held rallies across the country. In Los Angeles, hundreds of people marched through downtown and held a boisterous rally at City Hall, calling for Zimmerman’s arrest.
Police have said that Zimmerman, 28, is protected by a state law allowing someone who feels threatened to stand his or her ground and meet force with force. Critics have noted that Martin, 17, was walking back from a convenience store with only a cellphone, a pack of Skittles and an iced tea.
Florida authorities and the Justice Department have opened investigations.