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The Case of Trayvon Martin

Posted on: April 2nd, 2012 by Allissa

Roughly one month ago, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was walking through a gated community in Florida when he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, who was acting as the neighborhood’s watchman. Clutching an iced tea and a package of Skittles, Martin was heading to the home of his father’s girlfriend, who lived in the community. After spotting Martin, Zimmerman decided to follow him. He claims that the teenager eventually attacked him, and that he shot Martin in self-defense.

The death of Trayvon Martin has sparked outrage across the country, with many accusing George Zimmerman of targeting Martin based on his race. Martin was shot while wearing a hooded sweatshirt—or “hoodie”—and in the weeks following his death, activists have donned hoodies as a symbol of solidarity. In fact, last Wednesday morning, Rep. Bobby Rush wore a hoodie while making a speech about racial profiling, causing other representatives to interrupt him (they argued that Rush’s sweatshirt violated the House of Representative’s dress code). Read more.

The death of Trayvon Martin has raised issues about race and justice in America. Here are a few questions related to the case:

  • Was Martin judged for wearing a hoodie? Are there other ways people are judged for their appearance or clothing?
  • Was it fair for the House of Representatives to interrupt Rep. Rush for wearing a hoodie?
  • Recently, Trayvon Martin’s tweets have come under scrutiny. Should teenagers think twice about what they put on the internet? Or are Martin’s tweets unimportant in such a serious case?
  • Under Florida’s self-defense laws, if you believe that your life is in danger, you’re allowed to kill your attacker (even if you’re capable of running away, instead). Is this law necessary for self-protection, or does it just lead to more violence?