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Northwestern Students Hold Hoodie-In To Remember Trayvon Martin

By Anthony Todd in News on Mar 27, 2012 9:00PM


The death of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager killed by George Zimmerman, a member of a Florida neighborhood watch, has elicited strong responses from politicians, activists and even President Obama. After a boneheaded comment from Geraldo Rivera, law students at Northwestern University decided to take some action of their own. Today, they hosted a demonstration for Martin at noon, and more than 100 participants stood in silence wearing hoodies.

Why hoodies? Well, last week, Rivera blamed Martin's hooded sweatshirt for his murder. On Fox and Friends, Rivera opined, "I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin‘s death as much as George Zimmerman was," and urged parents to stop their black and Latino children from wearing hoodies. He followed up with this tweet [Sic'd]: "Its not blaming the victim Its common sense - look like a gangsta & some armed schmuck will take you at your word."

"Racism is still a reality in our communities and in the administration of justice," said one of the organizers of the event, law student Alanna Holt. "Wearing our hoodies for Trayvon is an important way of showing that, as law students, we understand this reality and are committed to changing it." The event was co-sponsored by a number of student groups, including the Black Law Students Association, the Public Interest Law Group and the student chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Northwestern students weren't the first to hold a demonstration of this type: Six state senators in New York wore hoodies onto the Senate floor on Monday afternoon and last week, there was a similar rally in New York.

Why should we care that a bunch of law students chose to demonstrate on this issue? Holt thinks that law students are a particularly important group to involve on this topic. "More than anything, this demonstration was meant to send the message to each other that lawyers are uniquely situated to create change, raise awareness, and eradicate racism and prejudice from the administration of justice. This theme is not discussed enough in law school, but hopefully this powerful moment of solidarity can serve as a small step towards increasing that commitment."