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Suddenly, the hoodie as a symbol of protest for Trayvon Martin

Miami heat hoodies
The furor over the Florida shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has created a new symbol of solidarity: the humble hooded sweatshirt known as the hoodie.

NBA star LeBron James tweeted the above photo of his teammates on the Miami Heat, heads bowed, all in hoodies.

Marian Wright Edelman of the Children's Defense Fund posed in one, too.

At one point today, NPR was leading its website with a comprehensive trend story. Twitter is alive with hashtags and tweets on the subject, many of them defiant in tone.

And in major cities, thousands are turning out for Million Hoodie Marches.

The use of the symbol took on new momentum Friday following Geraldo Rivera's warning on "Fox & Friends" to teens and parents that wearing a hoodie, as Martin did when he was shot, was dangerous and sent a negative message.

"You cannot rehabilitate the hoodie," Rivera said. "Stop wearing it."

Some may have heeded that advice; many others found it appalling, only adding to the problem of racial stereotyping.

Powerful feelings of anger and injustice have found a powerful, if unpredictable, visual symbol.

NPR's Linton Weeks quoted former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who summed up well what's happening: "The hoodie is a way of expressing support for the Martin family," she said,"and for all the sons of African-American families who bear the heavy burden of other people's negative assumptions."

Twitter: @SulliView


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