Trayvon Martin was wearing a hoodie when he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman last year, and that item of clothing was part of the reason Zimmerman said he found Martin to be so “suspicious” looking. Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watchman, followed the teen as he was walking home from the store and phoned police at the same time, who warned him to let them handle things. But Zimmerman kept up his pursuit, and within minutes, unarmed 17-year old Martin was dead.
On Saturday night, after the news broke that Zimmerman had been found not guilty on all charges relating to Martin’s death, supporters of the young victim took to the web in outrage and disbelief, and pastors began planning out what they would tell their congregations the next morning. Many made a point to tell parishioners that hoodies were encouraged, and Rev. Tony Lee of Washington, D.C. knew he himself would be wearing one.
Lee said he took inspiration from Martin Luther King, Jr. for his sermon this past Sunday and wanted to give a message of hope rather than despair.
“We have seen great movement forward in America, but there is always backlash. We just cannot use this as an excuse, but as a motivation to keep moving forward. There is a great pain but there continue to be seeds of hope that our nation that can be born again,” he said.
Several other churches, from Jacksonville to Chicago, sent out messages on social media sites like Twitter to ask church goers to show their support for Trayvon with a hoodie. The jacket, once a simple article of clothing, is now a symbol of the devastation brought to one family and of the hope that our country can learn from it.