Project Hoodie: Community comes together to learn from Trayvon Martin

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Project Hoodie: Community comes together to learn from Trayvon Martin

CREATED Apr 16, 2012

Reporter: Marcelino Benito

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The face of Trayvon Martin and the story of his killing sparked outrage across the country. The outrage fueled a community forum Monday night. It's called "Project Hoodie." It's a chance for community members to come together and discuss the issues that led to Martin's death.

"Real justice for Trayvon means justice for all of us," said Donna Liggins, President of Tucson's NAACP chapter.

The event was put on by the NAACP in collaboration with the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance.

"The community needs to be aware of things happening here in Tucson, as well as the young man, Trayvon Martin that was killed in Florida" Liggins said.

Two months later the story is a familiar one. Self appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. In Florida, he was able to use the Stand Your Ground law as his defense.

"I think it's an incredibly dangerous law," said Linda Dyer. "It just defies common sense to have a law like that."

The people who came out to the Dunbar Culture Center Monday night learned Arizona has a similar law of its own. It's ARS 13-405 and it was passed in 2006. The statute says there's "no duty to retreat" when being attacked by someone.

Tucson City Councilman Richard Fimbres and Tucson Chief of Police Roberto Villasenor were just two of the high profile speakers who attended the forum. They showed up to answer questions and address community concerns about the laws in Tucson.

Reporter Marcelino Benito asked Liggins if Arizona's statute gives her reason to be concerned. "Yes, because this is racial profiling," Liggins said. "Wearing a hoodie or the clothes I wear, or where I live shouldn't matter. I shouldn't look suspicious because I'm black. It could happen anywhere."

The panel went on to explain Arizona's "no duty to retreat" law in detail. The law only applies when the person is not the aggressor. Panelists also believe gun control laws are too lax. They are calling on the Legislature to tighten them up so weapons don't end up in the wrong hands.