The Common Good

Pastors and Congregants Wear Hoodies to Church

Image via The Faith Community of St. Sabina, www.stsabina.org.
Image via The Faith Community of St. Sabina, www.stsabina.org.

Christians and other people of good faith nationwide stood in solidarity with Trayvon Martin this weekend by wearing hooded sweartshirts — aka "hoodies"— to church.  

Monday marks the one-month anniversary of Trayvon's slaying in Sanford, Florida at the hands of neighborhood "watchman" Gregory Zimmerman, who shot and killed the 17-year-old African-American boy in “self defense” for “looking suspicious” while dressed in a hooded sweatshirt.

Trayvon was unarmed, carrying only a package of Skittles, an iced tea and his cell phone.

Last week, people across the nation began wearing hoodies to work, school, and community marches in response to Trayvon's slaying and the injustice of the kind of racial profiling that it would appear directly led to it. On Sunday, many churches took that vision a step further as pastors and congregants donned hoodies and wore them to church for what some congregations called "Hoodie Sunday."

The hoodie is fast becoming a garment of justice, symbolizing for many that the violent, racist and mercenary mentality simply will not be tolerated any longer in the United States of America.

For some, the hoodie is even a statement of faith.

At Middle Collegiate Church in New York City, Pastor Jacqui Lewis said that people are tired of the racism. On Sunday, she and members of her congregation wore hooded sweatshirts and took mug shots around the church while holding signs that read “I am not dangerous. Racism is. #TrayvonMartin.”

Lewis also encouraged her congregants to send Skittles to the Stanford, Florida Police Department to protest the fact that Zimmerman has neither been detained nor charged with any crime in Trayvon's killing. She also urged her church members to make their voices known to lawmakers and politicians.

 

 

The Rev. Jessie Jackson echoed similar thoughts in his Sunday sermon, asking "How do we turn pain into power?”

Jackson’s sermon dealt with power found in the blood of the innocent. In it he placed Trayvon alongside other figures such as Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, and Dr. Martin Luther King whose unjust, tragic deaths brought a new sense of power and poignancy to the struggle for racial justice.

At St. Sabina Catholic Church in Chicago, the Rev. Michael Plfeger, whose own foster son, Jarvis Franklin — who was African American (Pfleger is white) — was shot and killed on the street not far from the parish in 1998, wore a hooded clerical robe while he celebrated mass.

As he began to preach Sunday, Pfleger mentioned the hate mail, phone calls and messages on his Facebook page criticizing him and St. Sabina's for their outspokenness about Trayvon's death.

"Let me tell you something, because I begged you to watch this morning," the priest said, seemingly addressing those who had sent him hateful messages. "This is for you," Pfleger said, pulling a white hood over his head. "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Joseph, nor am I afraid of you. 'Cuz we are Trayvon Martin. All of us."

On his Facebook page Monday morning, Pfleger wrote: "Today is the one month anniversary of the Murder of Trayvon Martin. Let us Keep up the pressure to arrest Zimmerman, but let us also determine today that we will also boldly address the issues of Racism in America, evil laws like Stand Your Ground and the killing of our Children in Chicago and all across America. We are powerful and strong enough to focus on Trayvon and Chicago at the Same Time! We must connect the DOTS! YOUNG PEOPLE THIS IS YOUR MOMENT TO STAND UP AND SPEAK OUT!"

Watch the St. Sabina service and listen to Pfleger's homily, "Timing is Everything!" HERE.

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