What makes someone look “suspicious”? Is it what they’re wearing? Is it what they’re carrying? Is it how they look?
A Centre College student mobilized a show of solidarity with the family of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old African-American male who was fatally shot Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla. Trayvon, who at the time of his death was wearing a hoodie, was shot by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old Hispanic-American who was the “neighborhood watchman.”
Shana Roark said her plan came together after she heard Sirius XM host Joe Madison announce April 10 as “National Hoodie Day” in support of the slain teen.
“I had an idea for Centre as a campus to gather together, in hoodies and jeans, to take a picture with a banner that reads, ‘Do we look suspicious?’” Roark explained.
The photo, Roark added, will be uploaded online “to show our solidarity with Trayvon Martin’s family as well as the many across the world who know that racial profiling must stop.”
“The picture will also be sent to the Florida state attorney, who ignored the lead homicide investigator’s pleas that Zimmerman be prosecuted,” Roark added.
Admission fellow Gregory Chery, a 2011 Centre graduate, said he thought it was important he participate in National Hoodie Day.
“I wore my hoodie and came to participate in National Hoodie Day, and take the picture, because, to me, it was a call for justice,” Chery explained. “I believe that America is a country where justice is served, and when it’s not, you need to stand up for it. This was an opportunity to stand up for justice.
“I see the Trayvon Martin case as just a really sad one; it’s a sad case for America. We should feel ashamed that we’re a part of a political system where things like that could happen. But I’m just really glad that young people are taking charge of events like National Hoodie Day, standing up for justice. It makes me proud.”
Roark quoted the Rev.Martin Luther King Jr.in summing up her thoughts about the case.
“(He) once said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ Let us remember Trayvon Martin; let us remember that justice is alive.”
Centre College student Shana Roark contributed to this story.
SO YOU KNOW
After an extraordinary public campaign to make an arrest in the shooting of an unarmed black teen, a Florida prosecutor came back with a murder charge in the case that has galvanized the nation for weeks. Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, 28, turned himself in Wednesday in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.