Would MLK wear a hoodie for Trayvon Martin?

Would MLK wear a hoodie for Trayvon Martin?
July 19, 2013 11:22:18 AM PDT
A Photoshopped picture of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a hoodie is getting a big reaction. The picture has gone viral and it prompted ABC7 News to reach out to a man who was in King's inner circle. Dr. Clarence Jones was King's private counsel. ABC7 News sat down with him to talk about the protests over Saturday's verdict in the Trayvon Martin killing.

Jones, previously a scholar-in-residence at Stanford University, is an active First Diversity Visiting Professor at the University of San Francisco where he teaches in its College of Arts & Sciences and the Graduate School of Public Policy.

He says there is no question King would have put on a hoodie, if it could convey a message of tolerance of nonviolence. Jones says that message has been lost this week in Oakland.

Saturday night a group of angry demonstrators marched through Uptown and some in the crowd smashed a BART police car and broke dozens of store windows. Monday night, there was a replay of the violence, but that night a waiter was hit with hammer for trying to keep vandals away.

Jones calls it wanton anger that can't be tolerated. He told us, "You don't make yourself popular by standing and raising your hand and say, "Trayvon! Trayvon!" You don't do that and at the same time permit and stand by and let violence happen."

Jones marched with King, was King's personal attorney and helped write his speeches. Jones says all throughout the movement there was always the threat that violence would undermine the message.

"They were having a peaceful march in Memphis, Tennessee and some of the teenagers began to throw rocks and so forth. Dr. King stopped the demonstration," said Jones.

Jones says today there's no question King would put on a hoodie and march with for equal justice, but not like they did in Oakland.

"If you really care about making a difference and honoring the legacy of Trayvon Martin, you protest peacefully and then don't come to a protest rally unless, you're registered to vote," said Jones.

Another protest is planned for this Saturday. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan is promising it will be better.

"We are going to have more community people come out to monitor," said Quan.

One of the organizers tells me if anyone acts out, they will be turned in to the police.

"We want peace and we want justice. We don't want this violence in our community. We are going to have to work against people who seek to wreak havoc and seek to hijack our demonstration," said Justin Jones, the organizing committee chairman.

"Leadership requires the people who are calling these demonstrations, who are putting these demonstrations together, they're the ones who have to set the ground rules," said Jones.

Participants in last Saturday's march told ABC7 News they did not feel safe. Again, Jones says that threat of violence was always present in the Civil Rights marches of the 1960s, but King and his followers would have not permitted it to come from their side.

Image by Nikkolas Smith for The Creative Action Network. See the original here.


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