A handful of California lawmakers donned gray hooded sweatshirts over their suits and ties at Thursday morning's legislative session.
The attire, unusual for the congress floor, was a show of solidarity for slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin.
The Sacramento Bee reports that State Sens. Curren Price (D-Calif.), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Calif.) were among those who paid tribute to Martin with sweatshirts that bore the message, "In memory of Trayvon Martin." In the video above, State Sen. Curren Price calls the session to order with a recitation of the facts of Martin's death at the hands of neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.
Lawmakers from the Black, Latino and Asian Pacific Islander caucuses also wore hooded sweatshirts at a press conference in the Capitol that day. In a statement from the conference, Latino Caucus chair Rep. Ricardo Lara (D-Calif.) called for the reform of Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" legislation, the law that is currently protecting Zimmerman from arrest. Lara's remarks from the statement:
It is a shame that a young man in America cannot walk down the street without fear of being picked on or in this case, murdered because of the color of his skin. The senseless murder of Trayvon Martin is exasperated by a law that allows people to use the self-defense claim to kill in cold blood and walk away with no consequences. A solid revision of this law is needed so that the spirit of the law fits the letter of the law. I hope Trayvon’s death serves as a call for all of us to seek tolerance and understanding before we jump to conclusions and can’t retract our actions.
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) was kicked off the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday for also wearing a sweatshirt in memory of Martin. Fellow Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) said that Rush's sweatshirt statement was "fine," but that he hoped Rush's outrage extended to "all of the black on black crime going on in the city of Chicago weekend after weekend."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), however, praised Rush for having the courage to wear a hooded sweatshirt at the House of Representatives session, knowing that he would be thrown out. "He called attention to a situation in our country that needs to be addressed in a way that a man in a suit and a tie might not be able to do," said Pelosi.
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