“Hoodies Up” march for Trayvon Martin

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- A "Hoodies Up" march and rally of nearly 1,000 filled the streets of New Haven Saturday calling for justice for Trayvon Martin, and an end to racial profiling.

The march was held in solidarity with the national march in Sanford, Florida where neighborhood vigilante George Zimmerman tragically ended 17-year old Trayvon Martin's life. Participants called for Zimmerman's arrest and spoke in opposition to the "Stand Your Ground" gun laws recently passed in a dozen states.

Initiated by the Black Students Alliance at Yale, and joined by students from Southern Connecticut State University, local NAACP branches, civil rights activists, youth and community organizations, union members, and elected officials, the New Haven march sent a strong message of unity.

"I am so excited by the Black students at Yale," said Rev. Scott Marks to cheers. "The university wants the students to stay on campus but they are taking part in this community. And I am so excited that white Yale students have come with them," he added, welcoming the new activism by youth.

The youngest speaker, six years old, said he didn't see why wearing a hoodie should get anyone shot. He led a chant, "Justice for Trayvon."

Activists of all generations gathered at 3 pm in front of the closed youth center, the Dixwell Community House, where they were asked to sign in with the name and ward number, for follow-up on election day. Voter registration cards were also on hand.

They then marched in the street with police escort behind the banner of the New Elm City Dream youth group to the New Haven Green, ending on the steps of City Hall.

Barbara Fair, leader of My Brother's Keeper, welcomed the crowd and emphasized that one goal of the day was to build support for Connecticut Senate Bill 364 which aims to strengthen legislation passed in 1999 requiring police departments in all municipalities to compile annual data on incidents of racial profiling. Last year only 27 of 92 municipal police departments filed reports.

State Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield explained that SB 364 creates a common form that all police departments must use for reporting on racial profiling. "When this bill comes up for hearing, you need to be there!" he exclaimed.

Herman Zuniga, president of East Haven Immigrants United, which formed in the wake of profiling and harassment of Latino immigrants by the East Haven police now under investigation by the federal Department of Justice, aroused everyone when he declared that the struggles of Latinos and African Americans for equal rights are one.

Kathleen Cleaver, a lecturer at Yale Law School and former leader of the Black Panther Party, likened the impact of the murder of Trayvon Martin to the murder of Emmett Till in 1955 in Mississippi, which helped to spark the civil rights movement of the 1960's.

African American and Latino youth, targeted by the policies of the extreme Right Wing, suffering high unemployment and disproportional rates of incarceration, are now stepping forward to become engaged in the political process and demand an end to institutionalized racism.

The New Haven march and similar marches and rallies held in Hartford and Bridgeport, together with actions on campuses and communities across the nation, signal an awakened anti-racist unity by youth and all generations.

Photo:PW/ Art Perlo

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  • Lately there has been a lot of discussion about kids and teens. Whether good behavior or bad behavior is an indicator of what type of person they will turn out to be.

    There has especially been an argument about what kids wear and how wearing a hoodie indicates they MUST be a criminal because all criminals wear hoodies right? (lol)

    Well if all kids who wear hoodies are criminals, then what the heck are these kids with what they are wearing…….and speaking of which…what in the heck are these kids wearing?

    http://thetop10.squarespace.com/top-10-spooky-emo-kids/2012/4/1/top-10-spooky-emo-kids.html

    Posted by brian, 04/05/2012 11:58am (2 years ago)

  • There is a trend towards gross militarism in our society. More and more the sporting goods stores are filled with more paramilitary gear and paramilitary type weapons. There is an entire industry peddling this crap to the public. The marketing is mainly appealing to cop and soldier wannabees.

    Zimmerman is a prime example of a cop wannabee. The PD dispatcher advised him NOT to follow Trayvon. But no, he wanted to play cop that night...and it cost a young man his life. What is really sickening is the fact he has not been charged and arrested. The "stand your ground law" is garbage and simply endangers lives.

    Posted by Mike Greer, 04/04/2012 10:13pm (2 years ago)

  • This is the worst kiind of vigilante murder and if Zimmerman is not punished and the stand your ground law is not repealed this will be another step toward fascism.

    Posted by Lewis Lubka, 04/03/2012 11:46pm (2 years ago)

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