NEW YORK (AP) — The famous and the unsung took to Facebook and Twitter in hooded sweatshirts Thursday in solidarity with the family of a black teenager shot to death by a Hispanic neighborhood watch captain in Florida.
The spontaneous social media effort by dozens came a day after a few hundred people joined the Million Hoodie March on Wednesday night to protest the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
They changed their profile pictures and tweeted photos of themselves wearing hoodies, many also posing the question: "Do I look suspicious?" or using the Twitter hashtag "IAmTrayvonMartin" in a show of frustration and outrage.
Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Marian Wright Edelman, who heads the Children's Defense Fund, joined the fray, which included everyone from grandmothers to a group of law students from Howard University.
"I wanted to stand with all the young people who are standing up for justice for Trayvon Martin," Edelman said in a statement. "I wanted to protest that Walking While Black and wearing a hoodie should lead to a death sentence in America."
No arrests have been made in the case, angering Trayvon's father, Tracy Martin, and the family's supporters.
More than 100 commenters on Facebook cheered the photo posted by Granholm, host of "The War Room" on the progressive cable network Current TV. She served two terms as governor before term limits ended her administration.
"The hoodie is a way of expressing support for the Martin family, and for all the sons of African American families who bear the heavy burden of other people's negative assumptions," Granholm said in an email.
Trayvon died Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla. He was returning to the home of his father's fiancée in a gated community in the city after buying candy at a convenience store. He was unarmed and was wearing a hoodie.
The neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, has not been charged in the shooting. Zimmerman has said the teen attacked him and he shot him in self-defense.
Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee, who has been excoriated for not arresting Zimmerman, temporarily stepped down Thursday, saying he had become a distraction to the investigation.
Adrienne Garrett, 37, a family and community involvement coordinator for a middle school in St. Petersburg, Fla., said she tweeted herself with dark hood up and bangs peeking out to support Trayvon's mother and family.
"I feel for her," Garrett said. "Being in the school system and seeing these young boys, it's hard for them to go out and be safe without being profiled. It's just frustrating, and it's been going on for years and years."
- Marian Wright Edelman