Trayvon Martin’s killing in a gated community in Florida has sparked intense reactions across the country, but on Wednesday, New York City Council members will bring the issues surrounding the case home. Participating Council members, clad in hoodies and carrying Skittles and iced tea, will gather at the steps of City Hall before a meeting to examine nationwide ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws and “their impact on increasing the flow of illegal guns to New York City.” The press conference on the steps, organized by Council Members Melissa Mark-Viverito and Letitia James, will precede Speaker Christine Quinn’s introduction of a resolution to condemn Trayvon Martin’s killing and his killer’s lack of arrest.
Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito’s website announced the initiative and released statements from participating lawmakers.
“Wearing a hoodie shouldn’t be a capital offense” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “Trayvon’s death struck a chord in New York City because we’ve seen far too many young Black and Latino men killed unjustly. Council Members James and Mark-Viverito have brought the Council together to stand up against this injustice, and I’ll be wearing a hoodie with them to show that Trayvon’s death will not be forgotten.”
Legislators have linked Martin’s death to the issues surrounding New York City’s own racially controversial stop-and-frisk policies. On Tuesday, six New York state senators attended a session in Albany wearing hoodies and read off a list of black men killed by the NYPD. Senator Eric Adams, a Democrat from Brooklyn and former NYPD sergeant, told reporters that the circumstances that paved way for Trayvon Martin’s killing originated in New York.
“It was born here in New York City and now it has cascaded all the way down to the southern coast of Florida,” Adams said. “The stop-and-frisk policy gave birth not only to police officers believing that a person of color is automatically a criminal, now it has grown into the civilian patrol units.”
Meanwhile, the New York Post is predictably using the senators’ words as an opportunity to step away from the uncomfortable facts of the case. This morning’s front page shows a picture of the lawmakers in hoodies and the subhead “Tragedy hijacked by ‘race hustlers.'” For crying out loud: We suppose it’s only a matter of time before the comments section produces new ways to hate on black people without actually saying “black people.”
You can follow Sydney Brownstone on Twitter @sydbrownstone