Million Hoodie March for Trayvon Martin under way in NYC

A large crowd of protesters, between 2,000 and 5,000 by various estimates, are marching through the streets of New York right now to draw attention to the killing of Trayvon Martin. The Florida teen was shot to death last month, in a case that has generated widespread outrage online.

Tim Pool has been running a live video stream of the march.

Here's a quick link to the relevant Twitter hashtag (#millionhoodiemarch), to follow tweets from people who are there. Seems like a lot of youth are present at this one, perhaps more so than at recent Occupy marches in New York. People are wearing hoodies, carrying bottles of iced tea and throwing Skittles in the air: Trayvon was wearing one, and holding that candy and beverage when he was shot. So far, police presence is high, but interactions are peaceful, and the crowd is doing its thing without much NYPD aggression. That could change before the night is through.

The parents of the slain teen are present, and addressed the crowd earlier.

As of 8pm NYC time, the Associated Press and other news outlets still insist on reporting that only "hundreds" are participating in the march, despite evidence to the contrary. ABC News pegged the number at "dozens." As if.

As the march continues, two stories related to the case are breaking: city commissioners in Sanford, Florida have voted "no confidence" in the local police chief presiding over the case. Republican lawmakers in Florida who pushed a controversial self-defense law say it shouldn't apply to George Zimmerman, the shooter who killed Trayvon.

(photos: top, @occupywallst; inset, @xLovePatricia)


  1. I don’t know, it seems pretty cut and dry to me.  Florida passed a law saying that you can use lethal force if you “feel threatened”, empowering people like George Zimmerman (no relation, I hope) to act like this.  Reap what you’ve sown, Florida. Start shopping around for book rights, George.

    I’m sure I wasn’t alone in predicting this when they passed such a disturbingly ill-conceived law and I’m also sure that this isn’t the first time an event like this has taken place.  It’s terrible that such an event has to take place and catch the public eye in order to get people to think about these things.

    1.  The guy who wrote the “stand your ground” law says Zimmerman does not qualify cause he pursed Trayvon. This law only apply if you defend yourself in a hostile situation.

      1. Okay, that there is great news. Hopefully the world’s (okay, the internet’s) outrage will still result in the bill getting repealed.

    2. This doesn’t seem so much a result of a bad law as it is police refusing to investigate and prosecute. That is, it’s possible that some of the racists here were wearing badges. This should not really be such a surprise.

      I’ll just cut to the chase and say it, though. America is a particularly paranoid society with some of that fear fueling its fetishizing of gun rights – there are lots of psychological issues going on here, in my opinion ; the poor economy, middle class losing its power and disgruntled with a political and economic system which left them by the wayside decades ago ; reactionary ideologies which help this middle class determine a common scapegoat (immigrants, black people) which they can simultaneously repress and ask the elite class to do more to suppress it, etc. He killed this kid because he thought he could get away with it. I don’t think these things are unconnected. In the end, one should have the right, however, to defend oneself against aggression.

      This blog post discusses the problem pretty well, I think :
      “That being said it seems to me that “Stand Your Ground” doesn’t apply here. Zimmerman shot Martin as he was attempting to flee, as the 911 tapes reveal. Even under “Stand Your Ground” that is murder.”

      1. Crime has been dropping in the USA since the mid-80s. Every year.

        The media focus on crime has increased, however, leading to a perception that crime is out of control.

        In fact, we (regardless of skin color), have never been safer in the history of mankind.

        1. I was thinking about this the other day – specifically crime like muggings.  I’d love to see the stats 10 years before and on until today from the advent of the ATM and debit cards.  Mugging just isn’t as profitable as it used to be.

        2. Generally speaking perhaps, but does this study to which you allude also draw the same
          conclusion for African-American males? Does the study survey a sample population that is truly representative of the population? The numbers show that black people are disproportionately depicted as criminals far more often than whites on, say, local news broadcasts, for instance. Why is it so difficult to make the connection between such socially-engrained portrayals and the effect they can have on those with a lust for vigilante justice? 

          And for the record, decent people are ensuring this gets the proper coverage it deserves because they’re outraged Zimmerman hasn’t been arrested. If the media was doing such a great job with their reportage of crime, as you suggest, then why did some of us just learn of the incident a month after it happened? 

      2. I also thought there must be racist implications of the police’s not investigating, but… I don’t remember if it was an NYT article or Mother Jones, but somewhere I read that the issue is that courts have interpreted the law so broadly that it is near-impossible to convict someone if they claim self-defense and the other person is dead and can’t argue against it. So police have simply stopped prosecuting these cases and refer them to the state attorney’s office.

      3.  The bad law does have something to do with it. And the organization that pushed it, ALEC, has been pushing it around the country one state at a time.

        If you look at the way it is worded and “sold” to the people it really does fit in with the fear fueling the gun rights crowd. It plays on men’s desire to “defend and protect” and rejects the idea that

        This incident could be a chance to not only change the law but to stop it in other states.

        And why were all these laws passed? So that more guns could be sold. NRA funds ALEC to write the bills and get them passed.

        1. There’s no doubt the largely bogus “security/personal defense” industry benefits greatly from the particularly paranoid and fearful streak in American society, especially since 9/11 – and you’re correct to point out in your blog post its correlation on the national level to concerns of “national security”, “pre-emptive” aggression, extra-judicial assassination of “imminent threats”, etc. which are generally nothing but legal and verbal sophistry in the service of rationalizing atrocities. See John Yoo, Jay Bybee, Harold Koh all justifying the expansion of executive powers, the illegal wars, global “targeted killing” policies of CIA/JSOC, etc.

          The “better safe than sorry” mentality has done much to erode basic civil liberties and community spirit in the US, and has funneled vast amounts of money and power to those who know how to cynically manipulate these fears, both in the government and the “security/intel” corporations – all under the cover of this farcical “patriotic-conservative-family values” claptrap.

          1) However, in this case, as has been amply repeated, “Stand Your Ground” legislation simply does not seem to be applicable. The victim was not in any way presenting a threat to Zimmerman, it was the contrary – in this case, was actually Trayvon Martin who might have had a case for invoking “Stand Your Ground” for his defense, as he was the one being pursued by an irrational, impulsive guy with a gun. The question is : do you think HE had a right to defend himself from Zimmerman?
          2) Less guns would be better. The problem here though is not so much that Zimmerman had a gun, but rather that he was a paranoid young man with possibly racist ideologies. Taking his gun away doesn’t solve that fundamental problem, education and better politics do – and the fact that such “gated communities” exist in the first place is a problem.
          3) Police use unjustifiable (sometimes lethal) force and violate the rights of citizens regularly – I hope you criticize this as well. Do want police to have a total monopoly on lethal force? You can’t simply move to change the law every time an atrocity occurs, as this would mean the law is constantly changing. Whatever the law is people will always be behaving badly, interdicting certain activities will not necessarily keep people from them. You can never totally eradicate stupidity through enacting legislation. Violent crime on the whole is way down, this is indisputable. Why this is may be a different story, however :

      1. Stand Your Ground laws, which eliminate the longstanding legal requirement that a person threatened outside of his or her own home retreat rather than use force

        1. Under Florida law, there is no “duty to retreat” if you are attacked in any place you have a lawful right to be. Instead, you may stand your ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if you reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to yourself or others.

          1. Does this work for cops?  Serious question, not trolling.  If I am somewhere lawfully (perhaps taking a photo of a building, as I am wont to do) and a heavily armed and aggressive cop comes up to me, screaming and red in the face, not making sense and refusing to answer clear, calm requests as to what he is asking me to do (as really happened to me); am I lawfully allowed to meet force with force?

            I’m not necessarily advocating a return to the wild west, but I would like to see something of a return to civility from our police.  And the notion that he might get a legal (literal) ass kicking if he exceeds his authority, might go some way to that end.

    3. The fact that Zimmerman pursued Tayvon shows intent.  This was premeditated murder.  Zimmerman created the conflict.  His intent was to shoot that kid.  If not he would have kept his distance and allow the police to do their job.  Zimmerman killed this child in cold blood.  The only way the law would take precedent would be if Tayvon would have killed Zimmerman.  Zimmerman stalked this kid.  Tayvon feared for his life and would have been justified in killing Zimmerman with his own gun.   

  2. Why haven’t the police arrested the SOB?  Poor Trayvon Martin was lynched for goodness sake!  Zimmerman needs to be arrested for murder!  He must NOT be allowed to get away with it. 

    “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King

  3. I thought I heard on the news that they arrested Zimmerman earlier today. Right?

    ETA – I guess not. Must have misheard the news as I was running out.

  4. I disagree with the sign shown above, “You can’t have capitalism without racism”.  In my opinion, a free-market-based system works better for everybody (including the capitalists) when it’s free of irrational prejudices and discrimination.

    1.  Well – front and center is a Che shirt. The problem with any protest are those who have their own agenda to dilute the initial protest. Look at the myriad of messages from the Occupy protests.

      1.  I don’t think you should think of it that way; having been in those crowds, I can tell you those people are not there to hijack the protest or anything. They merely have a different view of the world, sometimes based on their staunch Marxism, which makes them see matters interconnected differently than you might see them. For most leftists there is a clear line between police brutality, racism, imperialism, colonialism, etc. On the Left a lot of people talk about black America as an internal colony of the United States. For them, it doesn’t make sense to talk about racism divorced from the context of imperialism or capitalism.

        1.  I don’t think of it as a hijack – but an off topic post. Too many of them and the original message is lost. Ask Antinous.

      2.  No, wearing a tee shirt that thousands of people wear in public every day does not “dilute the message.”  That’s just stupid. 

    2.  Then you should make a sign that says “You CAN have capitalism without racism” for the next march. That would show him!

    3. Actually, that guy’s at ALL the protests with that sign, as the generic Communist Party attendee. Now if the sign said “Smash racism”, that would be the representative of the anarchist contingent.

      1.  re: “Now if the sign said “Smash racism”, that would be the representative of the anarchist contingent.”

        Or the Hulk lobby.

    4. so where is the place that proves this assertion? I’d like to know exactly which free market based system free of irrational prejudices and discrimination is. Can you let me know what place you’re talking about?

    5.  What if there’s money to be made in fomenting racism? Divide and conquer, that sort of thing?

    6.  Check out the Book Capitalism and Slavery buy Eric Williams, then read some ancient Histories written by Ancient Greeks, and see that the ancient world didn’t see itself as color until the slave trade needed justification,  read Leo Frobenius or Ibn Battuta, and see how West Africa was before the Trade or Treaty began, in other words Capitalism isn’t the free market, the free market existed all over the world and still does has nothing to do with Capitalizing or taking advantage of your clients, customers, and employees, as is the problem with our economy today.

      1. I think Greece discriminated according to linguistic criteria. There were the Hellenes (Greek speakers) and the Barbaroi (Barbarians/non-Greek speakers).

        1.  Greeks certainly discriminated – the city-state prejudice (i.e., you’re not from here, you don’t belong here) was certainly as strong as race prejudice. But I think the point is that in the modern world we imagine that skin color prejudice is something that’s been with humanity since time immemorial – not true. Many societies existed without it, and like a lot of our modern institutions, a good deal of philosophizing was required to uphold and maintain it. It takes a lot of intellectual work to convince yourself that holding millions of people in slavery is okay.

    7. Absolutely! For example, behold the free-market paradise that is Somalia. They’ve definitely managed to transcend “irrational prejudices” (as long as you can afford your own technical and retinue of armed guards, that is).

        1. “Free market’ is pretty much a completely meaningless phrase.  WIthout some form of regulation there is no such thing as a market.  With regulation those markets are not free.

    8. Capitalism and racism go hand in hand. Why risk white workers and  black workers and Asian workers working together to fight for better rights when you can divide and conquer, give poor whites a slightly bigger piece of the pie and tell them the rest are n****rs, w*****ks, and zipperheads?

    9. The education system which serves the capitalist state divides and hierarchizes the population according to supposed ability. This is essentially sexual in nature and without sexual equality there is no racial equality (or equality with the other however that is perceived in any culture). The law is founded on sexual oppression, always. Blame God. We all have an inner anarchist.

  5. > So far, police presence is high, but interactions are peaceful,
    > and the crowd is doing its thing without much NYPD aggression.
    > That could change before the night is through. 

    “They mostly come at night.  Mostly.”

  6. They just passed my office (I’m working a little late) and I would put the count above “hundreds” and into the thousands.  “Dozens” is certainly hooey.

    1. But, since Zimmerman somehow didn’t get the standard crime scene drugs ‘n’ alcohol test, they might have been technically correct, for all we’ll ever know.

  7. This isn’t about racism, not really. This is about right and wrong. You don’t shoot someone who is running away from you. Zimmerman should be arrested. The Police Chief in Sanford needs to find a new job and the idiots in the Florida Legislature need to repeal that stupid, stupid law.

    1. The law is not a stupid one , it gives you the right to utilize lethal force when absolutely necessary , the old law stated you must first try and escape the situation , if no escape is possible then you were allowed the use of deadly force; the cheviot here is most use of deadly force is against another individual with a weapon and usually the escape ended with the victim being shot, stabbed from behind while trying to escape , the law gives us the right to meet deadly threats with lethal force when necessary. It is a good law – as is the castle doctrine extension to include your vehicle.

  8. “Dozens”, “Hundreds”, It amazes me how the media blatantly attempts to downplay the most important issues of our time. Thank God for social media and real time live streaming, WE now control the news and information. 

    I am the 544,902 to sign the online petition to prosecute Zimmerman BUT read why I thought the “million hoodie march” was a really bad idea **NOTE** I wrote the blog prior to the march and like myself many chose to opt out of wearing a hoodie in the protest. 

    1. re: “I am the 544,902 to sign the online petition to prosecute Zimmerman”

      So you can feel good about yourself without actually doing anything?

      1. Jaysus, that’s a bit harsh.

        Signing a petition mightn’t be the biggest effort, but it is an effort, it does count for *something* and it does more than snarky comments on the internet ever will.

        1.  No – it doesn’t count for something because online petitions DO NOTHING. There are real petitions that get real results, but a lot of them – most of them – do nothing.

          1. You’re right. Online petitions do nothing. People in power take notice of the number of people who sign them, and depending on the situation, alter their course or don’t.

            But the petition it just a series of records on a computer somewhere. It doesn’t even have any arms or legs.

  9. I’m torn.

    While the protests are admirable in nature, they are taking place in a very different area – physically and culturally – than the killing did. Having grown up in Florida, I can tell you much of it is a backwater state. Racism is just one of many social ills in the region, but it’s a very prevalent one, and a very depressing one. It’s VERY hard to get justice served in this part of the world, because the state government is pretty corrupt on all levels.

    It’s easy for empowered urbanites in one of the world’s most cosmopolitan metropolises to forget (or even just never have it occur to them) that a lot of regions of the United States are full of bigots, that a lot of racism, sexism, homophobia, and the like happens not just regularly, but constantly. And that living under constant abuse, most people just try to find ways to live with it and keep their heads down, because they don’t know how to stop it and don’t want to get their lives ruined by having a bad run in with a corrupt cop. I just can’t imagine the local population being stirred to take to the streets like that – too much risk, too little reward.

    To be fair, a lot of people in Florida are bitter about this case. But what’s worse is that even if outrage goes through the roof,  protests are out the question in most places – we’re too spread out. Florida is a massively car-centric place. You can’t go anywhere or do anything without a vehicle. Even in the big cities, you MUST have a car. There is no infrastructure for walking or biking, distances are too great anyway, there’s no public transportation, and despite trains being a crucial part of the historical development of the state, there aren’t any passenger lines, only freight.

    So what else is there to do? Write letters to Florida politicians? They’re horribly corrupt. Go to the police? Yeah, if you want to end up having drugs planted on you and getting locked away. I honestly don’t think this case is going to be brought to justice short of intervention from the federal government – the state will just drag its feet and ignore the problem indefinately otherwise, and the locals won’t be able to do a damn thing about it.

    So I guess in the end I’m grateful for the New Yorkers, because they’ve got at least a chance of compelling to federal government to step in?

  10. I live in FL.  Believe me, this was a racial crime. Zimmerman is a redneck.  We have Hispanic rednecks here.  All rednecks are prejudice and good ole boys run the state.  Wish I could move back up north. I am stuck here.  Kudos to the New Yorkers for protesting.

  11. Erm, why is the tv crew in the first picture interviewing, like, the ONLYwhite guy, and not one of the oh, everybody else in the parade who is black?

    1. That was my first reaction, too.  Still haven’t gone through all the video and links, so I don’t know if they have a good answer.  Above a comment stated that that guy is at ALL the protests, so maybe the journalist already knew a good statement would come out of him.  It’s still bugging me, though. 

  12. The “stand your ground” law has nothing to do with this case; people are just concerned about the law, and try to peg it to a concerning case to make a straw man they can attack. Stand your ground laws mean you don’t have to try to run away before defending yourself. This is a good thing, because once your life is threatened, you should be empowered to deal with that threat in whatever you think is best under stressful circumstances.

    However, no self-defense law in any state justifies pursuing and exercising deadly force against someone that’s no longer presenting an immediate threat. That includes “Stand Your Ground” laws — you still can’t shoot someone that’s not a threat. If the shooter really did pursue the victim, the law doesn’t protect him.

    The key in most self-defense law is whether the shooter reasonably felt threatened with serious injury or death. There’s room there for a shooter to mistake someone else’s actions as threatening, and for tragedy to occur in ways the law allows. That will happen if you allow people to defend themselves. If, on the other hand, you don’t allow them to defend themselves, worse tragedies happen.

    1. The “stand your ground” law has nothing to do with this case

      100%, utterly, completely false. The reason Zimmerman is walking around free is because the law mandates that anybody who claims self defense cannot be placed under arrest unless and until that’s proven false.

      1.  Yeah – but that isn’t the issue as much as there simply wasn’t an investigation. Had there been one, Zimmerman would have only been free for a few more days. The law isn’t failing, its the police failing.

        1. The law gave the cops the latitude to not do anything. There’s a big difference between saying, “Zimmerman is benefiting from the cops using a loophole in the law” and “The ‘stand your ground’ law has nothing to do with this case.”

      2.  I know everyone wants to hang Zimmerman out to dry here but a little respect for the law is a good thing. That man is innocent until proven guilty and its possible, albeit unlikely that this was a legitimate case under Florida law.

        That being said, politicizing the case with marches and petitions this early is bloody stupid.   This pollutes and clouds the legal waters making a lot harder to get to the facts or get a fair trial. It makes justice more difficult and expensive and creates animosity.

        Now if there were to be a lot of foot dragging I can see the need but its a new case and given that it has achieved local, state and national attention with little fuss its unlikely Zimmerman will be  will be flushed under the rug without good reason.

        Last if we  railroad someone to prison in the name of justice we are basically the same as what we are condemning so here is hoping we handle this with delicacy and if the guy did murder the kid he gets whats coming to him.

        1. That being said, politicizing the case with marches and petitions this early is bloody stupid. This pollutes and clouds the legal waters making a lot harder to get to the facts or get a fair trial.

          The only reason that anyone ever gets a fair anything is that somebody in the past protested. Trial by jury wasn’t left under a cabbage leaf by the stork.

        2. Innocent of what? He says he shot the guy. There’s really no evidence  at all that the guy posed any threat to him. So some one has been put to death without a trial here and we’re supposed to worry about the asshole who straight up shot him, while being recorded shooting him? 

          Get some perspective.

          1. Rarely have I seen so many commenters put out an agenda that has so little to do with the facts. It’s just pure shoot-em-up fantasy.

        3. That man is innocent until proven guilty and its possible, albeit unlikely that this was a legitimate case under Florida law.

          Which is why, in case anyone was wondering, so many people have been calling Florida’s law stupid.

          As for railroading Zimmerman, if you care more about that distant possibility than him actually shooting people without repercussions… well, maybe you’re not so concerned that everyone gets due process after all.

        4. “It makes justice more difficult and expensive and creates animosity.”

          Yes, because the police declining to arrest Zimmerman, denying knowledge of the cel phone Trayvon was using at the time, and badgering witnesses into changing their statements – none of that would *ever* create any animosity!

          “politicizing the case with marches and petitions this early is bloody stupid”

          You realise this happened several weeks ago, right? What is the appropriate waiting time before rallying to point out injustice?

  13. If there’s 5,000 people, some of whom have hoodies, it’s not really a ‘Million Hoodie March,’ is it?

  14. Where did the 5000 number come from? The highest reported number I can find anywhere is 1000. Does the whole internet have some reason for covering up the size of this march? (P.S. I WANT it to be thousands, just not finding any corroboration)

  15. I think at this point George may be hoping that he is arrested and subjected to some minor, at least perfunctory, legal process. There must be quite a few individuals in his town who now harbor a legitimate fear for their lives from him.

  16. I hate to burst everyone’s self-righteous bubble (including my own)… but..

    As more details are coming out, I’m beginning to wonder if both Trayvon Martin and Zimmerman were at fault here.

    It’s turning out that the screams for help on the 911 tape were perhaps from Zimmerman. Also, there’s apparently a witness that saw Trayvon Martin on top of Zimmerman while screaming for help and Zimmerman has a broken nose and the police found him bloodied when they arrived.

    It’s starting to seem like Zimmerman was amped up and chasing this innocent kid around because he was black and “suspicious”. Trayvon Martin felt threatened and made the horrible mistake of turning on Zimmerman after at first trying to get away.

    I think we all (including myself) have jumped to too many conclusions against Zimmerman and the police department at this point and the hive-mind has taken over.

    I do think it sounds like Zimmerman used excessive force after being an idiot by chasing after this kid. But, is he really the demon we have all made him out to be? Probably not.

    Is it a good idea that people like Zimmerman are running around with guns as neighborhood watchmen? Probably not, either.

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