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SOUTH JORDAN — A group of locals participated Sunday in a national show of solidarity with Trayvon Martin, the Florida high school student who was shot and killed last month while walking down a neighborhood street in a hoodie.
The shooter, George Zimmerman, 28, told police he had acted in self-defense and was not arrested. Martin was found with no weapons; only a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles. Since that night, there has been a nationwide outcry to charge Zimmerman in Martin's death.
The teen was wearing a hoodie the day he was shot, and the item of clothing has become a symbol of the racial tensions that have played into the event. Celebrities have posted pictures of themselves on social media wearing hoodies.
Geraldo Rivera was criticized Friday for saying on Fox that "The hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman was." He also said via Twitter: "Trayvon killed by a jerk w a gun but black & Latino parents have to drill into kids heads: a hoodie is like a sign: shoot or stop & frisk me."
Supporters of Martin gathered nationwide Sunday wearing hoodies and calling for change. A small group gathered in South Jordan, hoping their sons and daughters would never face what Martin experienced.
"I don't want them to grow up and not be able to walk down the street wearing a hoodie, or just walk down the street in a neighborhood that someone feels they don't belong in, and be killed because it's OK," said Onyxx Monopoly, the organizer of the event.
This is something real, and if they let go of it, people are going to think it's OK to … racially profile young men and women.
Monopoly said she got many positive reactions when people found out about the event, but some negative ones, as well.
"(The negative reactions) just helped me stand firm in what I'm doing, even if I'm alone, because it shows people are still ignorant," she said. "This is not just going on in Florida, or L.A., or New York. This is something real, and if they let go of it, people are going to think it's OK to … racially profile young men and women."
Monopoly said she has been surprised at the racism that exists even today.
"I didn't know racism was still such a big issue, but this has brought so much ignorance out of so many people," she said. "It's even here in Utah. It's just sickening."