Worshippers at the Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village wore hooded sweatshirts on Sunday in memory of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teenager who wore a similar garment when he was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer last month.
George Zimmerman, 28, says he shot the 17-year-old boy in self-defense and was not charged by police in Sanford, Fla. Martin, however, turned out to be unarmed and carrying a bag of Skittles candies.
The U.S. Justice Department and the FBI are now investigating the incident.
Not only did the clergy at Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village and the choir wear hoodies, but so did nearly the entire congregation, from the oldest members to 10-week-old Amelia Rose Petkos.
"My hoodie that I wear when I am running in the rain, when my hair is covered and my black face, maybe I look like someone to be frightened of. But a hoodie should not allow for profiling to happen," said Jacqui Lewis, a minister at Middle Collegiate Church. "It is part of our faithful duty to make sure that we act on behalf of the innocent. So we are not going to rest until George Zimmerman is arrested."
"I wore a hoodie today because I feel like it's so sad to think that someone who looks different than me, wearing the same piece of clothing as me, could have a disastrous result," said an attendee.
Those at the church also signed online petitions to demand criminal charges against Zimmerman and posted Facebook photos of themselves wearing hoodies and holding a piece of paper reading, "We are not dangerous. Racism is."
Another rally demanding Zimmerman's arrest was scheduled to taking place Sunday night in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.
Activist Jasiri X and hip-hop artists were expected to sing "A Song For Trayvon," a song about Martin that has gone viral on YouTube, at a community forum.
A "Million Hoodie" rally and march was previously held in Union Square on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Florida Governor Rick Scott said on Sunday he told Trayvon Martin's parents that he appointed a new state attorney and introduced them to agents looking into the February 26 shooting.
"No one can imagine this happening to their family. We've got to find out exactly what's going to happen," Scott said on CNN's "State Of The Union." "The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, State Attorney Angela Corey, is going to do a great job knowing what happened and make sure justice prevails. We have to do that."
One legal expert, Drexel University law professor Donald Tibbs, says the U.S. Justice Department could bring a hate crime charge against Zimmerman, saying Zimmerman could be heard muttering a racial slur on a 911 recording made just before the shooting.
Others say the recording is inconclusive.