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article imageCongressman, former Black Panther, wears 'hoodie' to House floor

By Nancy Houser     Apr 2, 2012 in Crime
The debate over the killing of a Florida black teenager reached another level when Congressman Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democratic lawmaker and former Black Panther, wore a gray "hoodie" and dark sunglasses onto the floor of the House of Representatives.
According to Policy Mic, massive protest marches and demonstrations have occurred like A Million Hoodies March for Trayvon Martin in New York, and similar massive protests in cities such as Philadelphia, Oakland, and San Francisco.
Many prominent human rights and civil liberty groups – like the NAACP and members of New Black Panther Party – have denounced this tragedy. The tragic death of a boy and the legality of George Zimmerman’s claims have been superseded by the attention given to race relations involved in the case.
The hoodie is worn by those who are in protest how the police handled the case of the dead African-American teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida last month---emphasizing the issue of racial profiling and its consequences. After his speech, Congressman Bobby Rush was escorted out of the House of Representatives for violating a House rule that states hats are not to be worn on the House floor. (video)
According to Huffington Post,
Rush used the hoodie and sunglasses to symbolize the stereotype of the black male of the street and to dramatize the racial profiling that goes on in America with ordinary black male John Does daily.
Serving since 1993, Rush requested a hearing on racial profiling, highlighted by wearing a gray hoodie on the floor as a symbol against the Trayvon Martin case. It was a personal matter for the lawmaker, as his son Huey had died due to gun violence.
After he was booted off the House floor, "Trayvon Martin’s parents said they were moved by the actions of Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill), who wore a hoodie on the house floor Wednesday while talking about racial profiling. They met with him Tuesday to discuss their son’s case, but had no idea he was going to don a hoodie and speak about the case from the floor of the House."
“I’d like to commend Congressman Rush for pleading our case,” said Tracy Martin, the father of Trayvon Martin. “Why wasn’t Congressman Rush allowed to address racial profiling? This is something that needs to be talked about. . . This is a country of freedom of speech.”
Democratic Congressman Bobby Rush
Democratic Congressman Bobby Rush
A member of the Congressional Black Caucus, strong involvement in issues of the African-American is something Bobby Rush has been involved in. He was the only person to defeat President Barack Obama in an election for public office, when Obama challenged him in a primary election in 2000. Afterwards Rush announced that he would support Barack Obama in the 2008 primaries, and later his presidential campaign, according to the 2008 Chicago Defender.
Rush proposed that an African-American should be appointed to fill Obama's vacant seat in the U.S. Senate. During a press conference, Rush said, "With the resignation of President-elect Obama, we now have no African American in the United States Senate, and we believe it will be a national disgrace to not have this seat filled by one of the many capable African American Illinois politicians."
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