Trayvon Martin was unarmed and only 17 years old when he was shot to death by George Zimmerman in Florida last month. When Geraldo Rivera blamed the murder of Trayvon Martin on his wardrobe choices late last week, he probably didn't realize he would spark a movement with his ignorant comments.
Rivera said that the hooded sweatshirt Martin was wearing on the night of his murder was as much to blame for his death as the man who shot him. The absurd comment was soon spreading like wildfire across social media platforms, blogs, and news sites. Since then, athletes, politicians, and ordinary citizens have fueled their outrage into sympathy and action.
Over the weekend, activists in cities like Los Angeles and Philadelphia organized a Million Hoodie March. Reverends are asking members of their congregation to wear them. New York Senators appeared in session wearing them. Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and other members of the Miami Heat posed wearing hoodies. Twitter avatars, Facebook profile pictures, and other social media images are being changed into photos of people in hoodies.
A simple article of clothing is now becoming a symbol against racism and injustice for millions of people ready to rally around Martin's parents.
People are still demanding justice. Because Florida's "stand your ground" gun law allows citizens to use deadly force in self-defense, Zimmerman was not arrested or charged for Martin's murder. Martin's parents started an online petition calling for Zimmerman to be prosecuted and they're attending a forum in Washington, D.C. looking at racial profiling and hate crimes.
The road to justice seems unclear at the moment, but hopefully Trayvon Martin's parents will feel that they have it soon.
Rivera has since apologized for his comments, saying that they were "politically incorrect." It's too little, too late as far as most people are concerned. And whether he meant it to or not (chances are, he didn't), his words will now forever be associated with the incident.