Rep. Bobby Rush asked to leave House floor for wearing hoodie for Trayvon Martin
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Rep. Bobby Rush asked to leave House floor for wearing hoodie for Trayvon Martin

George : WA : USA | Mar 29, 2012 at 12:03 PM PDT
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Congressman Bobby Rush Defends Wearing a Hoodie on House Floor

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) was asked to leave the House floor Wednesday morning for wearing a hoodie for Trayvon Martin - the black teen who was shot dead in Florida last month.

Wednesday morning, while delivering a speech about the need for a thorough investigation into the murder of Trayvon Martin, Rep. Bobby Rush removed his suit jacket to reveal a gray hoodie underneath. Rush also donned a pair of dark sunglasses.

Immediately, Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), who was acting as speaker, banged his gavel and asked Bobby Rush to leave the House floor. But the congressman raised his voice and ignored him.

“I applaud the young people, all across the land who are making a statement about hoodies, about the real hoodlums in this nation, specifically those who tread on our law wearing official or quasi-official cloaks,” Rush said on the House floor.

“Racial profiling has got to stop, Mr. Speaker,” he said. “Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.”

Rep. Bobby Rush then recited two verses from the Bible. He was still speaking as he was ushered away from the podium. Harper defended his decision by saying that Rush was out of order for wearing the hood.

"Clause 5 of Rule 17 prohibits the wearing of hats in the chamber when the House is in session," he said. "The chair finds that the donning of a hood is not consistent with this rule. Members need to remove their hoods or leave the floor.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) later praised Rep. Bobby Rush for wearing a hoodie on the House floor in protest of the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida.

"I think that Bobby Rush deserves a great deal of credit for the courage he had to go to the floor in a hoodie knowing that he would be told he was out of order," Pelosi said. "He called attention to a situation in our country that needs to be addressed in a way that a man in a suit and a tie might not be able to do."

17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed last month while wearing a hoodie in Sanford, Florida, by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watchman. Zimmerman said he followed the teenager and shot him because he looked suspicious. The case is still under investigation.

On his part, George Zimmerman said that the two exchanged words before Trayvon Martin punched him in the nose and pushed him to the ground. Zimmerman added that he yelled for help before shooting Martin in self-defense.

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U.S. Representative Bobby Rush wears a hoodie during a floor speech in the House of Representatives in Washington
U.S. Representative Bobby Rush wears a hoodie during a floor speech in the House of Representatives in Washington
Michelle Lincaster is based in Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America, and is a Reporter on Allvoices.
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