The Million Hoodie March will take over New York City's Union Square Wednesday night in a massive protest over the handling of the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin three weeks ago on the streets of a gated Florida community.
The rally is the latest -- and perhaps the largest -- such protest to date in response to the death of the teen, which has brought the issue of race in America under a magnifying glass and ignited tensions as police have failed to arrest or charge George Zimmerman, the 28-year-old, self-appointed neighborhood watch captain who admits that he shot the unarmed teen to death on Feb. 26.
The event, which was organized in conjunction with the Occupy Wall Street movement, comes on the heels of an announcement by the U.S. Justice Department that it will conduct an investigation into the teen's shooting death.
New York CIty Councilmen Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams, both of whom have been arrested on shaky grounds in the past two years, plan on attending the Wednesday rally, as they feel that it has implications that go far beyond a single case in Florida.
You're seeing the reactions from people in New York and elsewhere because it's a national storyline. It's something that resonates. This is a young man that by all reports was doing nothing wrong and someone from the community shot him and now there are concerns about how the investigation is going, Williams spokesman Stephan Ringel told The International Business Times Wednesday. It's really issues not just of gun violence in communities of color, but also how they're being policed. There are problems with both.
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The public march is open to anyone who wants to don a hooded sweatshirt and show their support for the Martin family, and to demand that Zimmerman be arrested and prosecuted.
1 million hoodies, 1 million signatures on Change.org... Show the world we are all Trayvon, reads a description of the event posted on interoccupy.org, which goes on to explain how the protest will go down, and adds that A black person in a hoodie isn't automatically 'suspicious.' Let's put an end to racial profiling!
The actual physical rally will be held in Manhattan's Union Square starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, which is the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Following the initial gathering in Union Square, some participants have said they plan to march to the United Nations building, where they will hold a second rally.
Anyone who wants to participate in the Million Hoodie March rally can show up at Union Square wearing a hooded sweatshirt, which was chosen as the uniform of choice because Martin was wearing such a garment when he was shot dead while carrying nothing more than Skittles and iced tea.
They can also sign the change.org petition created by Treyvon Martin's parents to implore prosecutors to bring a case against Zimmerman. The petition currently has more than 800,000 signatures.
Concern is rising throughout the nation about the Martin case, which many Americans see as indicative of larger issues of injustice in the country.
We have to wait for the investigation to finish, obviously, but the details out right now are troubling. We're happy that the Justice Department is looking into the incident, Rodriguez spokesman David Segal said on Wednesday. It strikes a chord with so many people because it's such a great tragedy. Whether it happened in Florida or whether it happened anywhere, I think it would be equally as much of a tragedy.
And celebrities from Spike Lee to John Legend are coming out to support Martin's family and protest the handling of the case. Even businessman, former presidential candidate and TV personality Donald Trump decided to get into the fray himself on Wednesday, chipping in his own two cents via Twitter:
They should seriously look into the moron George Zimmerman who shot and killed the 17 year old kid, Trayvon Martin, for no reason. What a disgusting situation, Trump tweeted.