The shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida is having an impact here in Baltimore.
A neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, admits he shot Martin but claims it was in self-defense. Zimmerman has not been charged.
And that is the source of much of the anger -- says the Rev. Heber Brown III of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in North Baltimore.
“To be able to shoot a 17-year-old and be home by dinner time -- that's problematic for a lot of people and it's understandable that so many of them are calling for justice,” Rev. Brown said.
He is inviting worshippers to wear “hoodie” sweatshirts to church this Sunday -- like the one Trayvon Martin was wearing when he died.
“Hoodies will be on and we'll be talking about what can we do proactively,” Rev. Brown said.
Florida Governor Rick Scott is calling for patience. “None of us believe in any racial profiling,” he said. “But I think the first step is let's find out what happened here.”
But Rev. Brown says the shooting taps into a fear African-American men live with every day -- that he says he feels even as he leaves his own church at night, and that he says he'll struggle to explain to his two young sons.
“It really doesn't matter what station or stage of life that you are. If you are a black man in America there is a certain type of understanding that we have that in many regards we are going to be targeted for something in some way shape or form,” Rev. Brown said.
It’s just Pleasant Hope Baptist Church -- a number of churches around the city and the region will be encouraging people to wear hoodies this Sunday. And then Monday, large protests are planned in Florida and around the country, including in Baltimore.
“This really is a seminal moment for us to really raise Trayvon Martin up and look at this young man and grieve for his family and think about where do we go from here,” Rev. Brown said.
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