Maryland lawmakers are calling for cultural sensitivity and an end to racial profiling following the shooting death of an unarmed teenager in Florida.
Members of the Maryland Black Legislative Caucus gathered on "Lawyers' Mall" outside the state house in Annapolis Monday to decry the death of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old who was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer while walking in a gated community last month, according to the Associated Press.
Dressed in "hoodies,'' the type of sweatshirt the teen was wearing at the time of his death, at least a dozen black legislators called for efforts to improve cultural competency and a review of self-defense laws. They aimed to draw attention to the problem of racial profiling.
"We want to make sure that everybody understands that we can do a better job as citizens as we interact and relate to one another, and to think the best of people before you think the worst," says Maryland State Sen. Catherine Pugh, who chairs the chairs the caucus.
The caucus is drafting a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice asking that the agency review "stand your ground'' self-defense laws in 21 states that give latitude for people to use deadly force instead of retreat during a fight.