It was bound to happen: The “Wear hoodies in sympathy with Trayvon” and “Wear hijabs in sympathy with Shaima” movements have now officially merged. At 7:30 tonight in Oakland a “Hoodie and Hijab March” in solidarity with not only Travon Martin and Shaima Al Awadhi but also Oscar Grant and Bobby Hutton will pass through downtown and — if things go as planned — degenerate into this week’s scheduled riot:
For those who need a scorecard for this pantheon of politicized victims:
• Trayvon Martin is the African-American teenager killed in a highly controversial and racially charged incident in Florida last month. Sympathizers have taken to wearing hoodies (which Trayvon was wearing when he was shot) as a sign of solidarity.
• Shaima Al Awadhi is an Iraqi-American woman killed in her El Cajon home by persons unknown; a note purportedly found at the scene is being touted as evidence of a hate crime, although police are still investigating and there is some evidence that the killing was not a stranger murder. Even so, activists have encouraged non-Muslims to wear hijabs (which Shaima wore) to show their beliefs that Shaima was killed because of her religion or culture.
• Oscar Grant was an African-American man who died after being shot by a BART police office in Oakland in 2009; although the officer was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to two years in prison, activists claim that the shooting was intentional, not accidental.
• Bobby Hutton was one of the original members of the Black Panther Party who was killed during a shootout with the Oakland police in 1968.
All four are considered by activists to be victims of politically-motivated violence, though in each case circumstances are unclear and there’s no real proof that any of their deaths had anything to do with bigotry or politics.
Normally I don’t post about events before they happen, but in this case I can state unreservedly that I will not be running through the streets of Oakland tonight in a hijab or hoodie. As luck would have it, I’m having an emergency root canal at 7:30pm, so I guess I’ll have to miss the Hoodie and Hijab March. Shucks!