Denise Crosby: Until facts are all in, local hoodie march is out of step
By Denise Crosby email@example.com March 29, 2012 6:12PM
FILE - This undated file family photo shows Trayvon Martin. Martin was slain in the town of Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26 in a shooting that has set off a nationwide furor over race and justice. Neighborhood crime-watch captain George Zimmerman claimed self-defense and has not been arrested, though state and federal authorities are still investigating. Since the slaying, a portrait has emerged of Martin as a laid-back young man who loved sports, was extremely close to his father, liked to crack jokes with friends and, according to a lawyer for his family, had never been in trouble with the law. (AP Photo/Martin Family, File)
Updated: May 1, 2012 8:12AM
I have no doubt Kelly Ingram is a nice lady. And I also believe her intentions are good.
In fact, we should all have her passion and courage to do more in life than sit along the sidelines and yap our flaps about all the problems in the world today.
That being said, I have issues with the hoodie march she’s organizing in her hometown of Naperville “to honor” shooting victim Trayvon Martin, when there’s still much we don’t know about what happened the night the 17-year-old was killed in Florida.
What we do know is that an unarmed black teenager is dead; and the gun that killed him belongs to a 28-year-old neighborhood watch captain named George Zimmerman who was not arrested but has been in hiding because of the onslaught of hate-filled media attention that’s made the slain teen the poster child for racial profiling.
But all week more information continues to seep out about the events of that night, much of it contradictory and some of it even painting Martin as the aggressor. Zimmerman has said he shot Martin in self-defense after being attacked, a claim backed by some witnesses and contested by others. The latest, as of press time Thursday, was the release of a police video that does not appear to show the injuries Zimmerman claims to have received when he says he acted in self-defense. They way things are going, there could be even more twists and turns to this ever-evolving storyline by the time you read this Friday.
When I chatted with Ingram about my concerns, she was not aware of the more recent developments, admitting “I don’t follow the news” because “it’s too negative” and “I don’t have time to watch it.”
But you have time to put together Saturday’s Naperville event for a shooting victim in Florida, I pointed out.
Ingram said she was getting some flack for that, as well. Some people had asked her, via Facebook postings, why she’s organizing this march for a shooting victim so far away when small children are being killed in Chicago.
“Those are all idiots ... morons with no education,” she said of the gangbangers who are behind Chicago’s rash of shootings that has claimed the lives of young victims, including a 6-year-old playing on her front porch in broad daylight.
But for Ingram and the rest of America up in arms over the killing of Trayvon Martin, the story coming out of Florida — whether it’s first degree murder or something far less evil — is about more than an act of violence.
“It’s about race,” said Ingram, a white woman, who told me she’s estranged from some of her family because she married a black man; and that her 11-year-old son is fully aware of the looks he receives while walking down the streets of Naperville.
“Racism is out there ,” she continued. “People still want to look at skin color instead of the heart.”
I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to be in her family’s shoes, especially her son’s. Certainly discussions — not rants — that involve issues of race must be ongoing. But I do believe we need more facts out of Florida before we start protesting in our local streets. Racial profiling, hate crimes, even gun laws are emotionally volatile issues. And everyone seems to have an opinion. But it seems more appropriate to step back and wait for the evidence — instead of relying on information filtered by those with their own agendas.
Later in our conversation, Ingram said she’d like Saturday’s march — scheduled for 1 p.m. in the parking lot of Naperville’s Centennial Beach, at 500 W. Jackson Ave. — to be in memory of all victims of violence because “there’s just way too much of it in this world.”
On that part, we agree.
And, if you want to attend her protest, by all means go. My suggestion: Drop the hoodies and let clear heads prevail.