Misconception leads to death


On February 26, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was walking to a family member’s house in Sanford, Florida.

It was then when Martin was approached by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watchman surveying the area.

It is not clear who initiated the attack on who but the altercation led to Martin being fatally shot by Zimmerman.

There has been a lot of speculation as to the circumstances surrounding the Florida teen’s death.

These accusations have triggered cultural sparring.

Martin was walking with a hooded sweatshirt on his head which may have aroused Zimmerman’s suspicion.

Many believe this to be a case of racial profiling.

This incident really hits home to a lot of parents because they could see the similarities between their own child and Martin.

President Barack Obama addressed the issue by making a now, often referred to statement: “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”

There is a common misconception that if a young minority wears a hooded sweatshirt then he is up to no good.

This is not always the case but it seems to muddle up the profile of a criminal. In this case, that perception may have led to the death of an innocent teen carrying ice tea and candy.

Zimmerman has not been formally charged for the murder because he claimed he shot in self-defense.

Since then, several witnesses have come forward with their account of what happened the night the teen was killed.

These events have caused a national outrage sparking a number of movements demanding justice. Such movements have taken place in Florida, Sacramento and even locally in Stockton.

Recently more than a thousand people gathered in downtown Stockton near the waterfront to participate in an event called the “1,000-Hoodie March.”

Demonstrators wore hooded sweatshirts in memory of the teen. They demanded Zimmerman be prosecuted.

Organizers also wanted to recognize the violence going on in the city.

“They want to show that good people have concern for the well being of Stockton,” anti-violence advocate Ansar Muhammad said.

The march was a social movement that connected people who wanted to speak out against the wrongness in their community.

Stocktonians feel a need to stop the violence or “more kids will die on the streets.”

The demonstration also recounted the 2010 death of James Rivera, a 16-year-old who was shot and killed by police after a vehicle chase through North Stockton.

The protesters said racial profiling and police brutality are terrible occurrences that should be stopped.

Did Martin die because he was perceived as a threat? Or because he was wearing a hoodie? Or because he was African American?

Maybe communicating instead of jumping to conclusions can solve these problems.

We’ve become a society on edge, not trusting of one another. Maybe instead of viewing another person’s intent or appearance through a stigma, we stop and think twice before acting.