The Trayvon Martin controversy seemed to become even more high-pitched over the weekend, with a large number of protest rallies taking place throughout the country, including demonstrations from Atlanta and Los Angeles to Chicago and Washington.
In churches throughout the country, congregations came to worship donning hoodies, a move to express their solidarity with the family of the 17-year-old Florida student who was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer a month ago.
The protests have had two major objectives. More than anything, the participants in the rallies have called for the arrest of George Zimmerman, the man who killed an unarmed Martin as he was walking in a gated community in a suburb of Orlando.
The second objective has been to draw attention to Florida’s 'Stand Your Ground' law, which many have criticized as a license for vigilante activity.
The weekend activities were widespread. In the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King once served as pastor, the current leader of the church preached an impassioned sermon while wearing a hoodie himself.
“We're standing as the church of nonviolence to say that a hoodie is not a weapon,” said the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the church’s senior pastor. “We stand in solidarity with the family of Trayvon Martin. We stand in support of our children who deserve better than to be stigmatized and stereotyped.”
At Emmanuel Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY, congregation members also came to church in hoodies. “I wanted to be in solidarity with the family of Trayvon Martin to say that what is going on is not right,” said Nicolle Munroe, a member of the congregation. “It was our way of standing together.”
At the St. Sabrina Catholic Church in Chicago, the Rev. Michael Pfleger wore a hoodie over his robe while celebrating mass.
In the protests and even in media discussions, the tone of the discussion on the Martin case has become increasingly strong. In fact, Michael Nutter, the mayor of Philadelphia, said over the weekend that the shooting of Trayvon Martin is “nothing short of an assassination.”
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(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)