Saturday, March 24, 2012

Why I Wore My Hoodie

Video streaming by Ustream
During my broadcast of my weekly radio show The Reading Circle with Marc Medley heard live on WP88.7 FM and, I wore my hoodie for the entire three hours of the program. This was different for me because I normally do not wear the hood on my hoodie unless I am outside and it is a cold winter day. In fact the children in the school that I am principal of are prohibited from wearing their hoods on their heads while in the building during school hours. However, this morning I wore my hoodie for the entire three hours in the hot radio studio as a symbol and as a part of a protest regarding the murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin. This was my miniscule contribution to a protest effort that has been taking place all across the country now known as “hoodie” marches, designed to raise awareness of the murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, a volunteer community neighborhood watch person in a gated community in Sanford, Florida.

Some would say why did you wear your hoodie during your radio show? I wore my hoodie because the same fate that Trayvon met could have been me last August as I vacationed in Monarch Lakes  visiting with my sister-in-law in a gated community in Miramar, Florida outside of Miami. If I were to play the same scenario out, the same tragedy could have occurred. Monarch Lakes could've had a maniac volunteer community neighborhood watch person that would not have known me from Adam's housecat and might have taken the same action as I am an African-American male not known to the members who live in the community. I wore my hoodie this morning because Trayvon’s face reminds me of my 17-year-old daughter Niara. I wore my hoodie this morning because George Zimmerman has yet to be charged with anything even after being told to stand down by police and not follow Trayvon Martin. Regardless of the police officer's order, Mr. Zimmerman proceeded to follow Trayvon anyway and we all know the result of this action.

If you listen to the 911 tapes, you can hear the mindset of Mr. Zimmerman as he says “These assholes always get away.” He had already determined in his mind that this one would not get away. A clear illustration of the mindset of Mr. Zimmerman can be read in Malcolm Gladwell's book BLINK in Chapter Six where he describes the mindset of the police officers in the murder of Amadou Diallo, another unarmed black man. While this may not necessarily be about race in and of itself, certainly race played a part. In Mr. Zimmerman's mind he saw a black teen wearing a hoodie and automatically assumed that this child was a troublemaker. It was this assumption that caused him to react in the manner that he did leaving Trayvon Martin dead. Not only was my radio show web streamed around the world on, it was also broadcasted live on my ustream channel The Critical Thinker for everyone to see that I was indeed wearing my hoodie as I was broadcasting from the radio booth at WP 88.7 FM.

We must continue to do everything in our power to ensure that another child regardless of race, gender, sexuality, or religion is not made a victim because of it. How many more Trayvon Martin’s are we going to have to suffer through? Lastly, I wore my hoodie because I am Trayvon Martin. May God bless Trayvon’s family through this difficult time and may Trayvon Martin rest in peace.

No comments: