By JOHN T. WARD
Three Red Bank council members wore hooded garments to Wednesday night’s bimonthly meeting as a local group put out word of a silent vigil next week in memory of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
A poster for the event, called “We Are Trayvon Martin,” encourages attendees to wear hoodies, the type of sweatshirt that Martin was wearing when he was killed in an encounter with a gun-toting resident of Sanford, Florida a month ago.
Councilwoman Sharon Lee, in a vivid blue hoodie from the Unversity of North Carolina, where her son attends school, tells redbankgreen she wore the garment on the council dais in solidarity with others to call attention to the stigmatization of African-American youth.
“I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have one. We put our children out in them,” she said. “But if it’s that much of a problem, then we do need to desensitize people by letting them see them all the time.
“They’re just material things,” she said. “They’re not the substance of the person wearing them.”
Councilmembers Ed Zipprich and Juanita Lewis also wore lightweight sweaters with hoods to the meeting.
Organized by IMPACT, a youth advocacy group created by Red Bank native Darnell Lewis, the vigil is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at the pocket park at the corner of Shrewsbury Avenue and Drs. James Parker Boulevard.
“Community members will peacefully assemble and stand silently together in his remembrance and raise awareness on the national issue of stereotyping and injustices against African-American young men,” a press release for the event says.