Daniel Maree, 'Million Hoodies' Creator, Reacts To Zimmerman Charges
Organizer hopes the movement continues to inspire conversation about racial profiling and injustice
Maree's organizing caught the attention of Martin’s parents, who flew to New York to greet supporters at the rally .
This week, Martin’s confessed killer, George Zimmerman, learned he would face a second-degree murder charge. Maree doesn’t see this milestone as a reason to pull back on discussions of the peripheral issues interlaced with the tragedy.
Racial profiling and the laws that may delay justice, particularly “Stand Your Ground,” have become the focus of many groups, who are partnering with Maree’s cause. He’s partnered, most notably, with the Martin family’s foundation.
Loop 21 caught up with Maree, just as he stepped off a plane to Washington and into the press conference, where Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin’s parents reacted to the news of charges.
Loop 21: I have to say, I didn’t expect to hear you were in Washington when I called you…especially not at the National Action Network convention with Trayon’s parents.
Daniel Maree: It was great to see.
Loop 21: And you, like anyone else plugged in to social media, learned of George Zimmerman’s arrest and charges in real time. What are your thoughts?
DM: I think it’s a first step in the right direction. I’m definitely happy with the decision that was made (Wednesday). We definitely want to see a conviction come out of it. In addition to that, we want to address the policies, the legislation, and the institutions that are perpetuating racial profiling in the country and that have allowed for situations like this to occur.
Loop 21: The last time we spoke you were organizing the Million Hoodies March, and from there it seemed to take off to a level that maybe you didn’t even anticipate.
DM: It was completely unanticipated…beyond anything I ever expected or imagined. I really don’t know how to describe it. It’s just one of those things that you do and people get involved. It’s a beautiful thing. I think it’s a demonstration of the power of social media, one. The power of millennials, two. And the power of a dedicated group of individuals saying, ‘We’re not going to allow this to happen again.’
Loop 21: What has happened for you and for the Million Hoodies movement in the last few weeks?
DM: The press coverage has been overwhelming. I haven’t been able to keep up with requests for interviews. We’ve been speaking to different documentarians and artists from around the country, who are interested in participating in some kind of way. From poets, to artists, to musicians, they’ve all been eager to submit material, dedicated to (the Martin) family and to the movement. And that’s huge because people who are talented don’t always willingly submit free material. It’s an inspiration to be involved with this. I feel lucky…I was really lucky in the way it all came down. Timing, friends and a lot of support.
Loop 21: I’m certain this makes you a pretty busy guy, if you weren’t already. What ways can people stay involved?
DM: We’ve launched a community organizing (website), MHoodies.org. The idea behind that site is to continue it as a social experience for people. We have been in touch with community organizers from around the country, from Los Angeles to Philadelphia. We’ve now formed a partnership with JusticeTM.org, Trayvon Martin’s family foundation. I think we’re going to see a lot of positive expressions come out of this -- whether that’s art, whether that’s movement building, whether that’s organizing…whatever. We’re going to see a lot of positive change come out of this.
Loop 21: You mentioned you expected to meet again with Trayvon Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. What do you think you’ll say to them?
DM: I think I’ll say that there son is alive in this movement. And I don’t mean that on a metaphysical level. I am Trayvon Martin, in a way that I could have been Trayvon Martin. And that was the emphasis behind my launching this cause. It could have been me. Their (the parents’) strength, in wanting to continue to get justice and find the truth, has been an inspiration. Their son is not gonna just be remembered as a 17-year-old kid who was shot and killed. Their son is going to be remembered as somebody who sparked a global movement for justice. He will truly live on through that movement and through that the numbers of people he’s inspired.