CONNECTICUT – United by grief and anger, dozens of Yale students rose up Thursday, April 5, against discrimination and racism, hosting a “Hoodies and Hijabs” day in protest of the murder of Trayvon Martin and Shaima Alawadi.
“Being discriminated against for wearing certain types of clothing, or coming from certain religious or racial backgrounds is unacceptable,” the announcement by the Yale Muslim Students Association, cited by Yale Daily News, read.
The event was held to protest the killing of Shaima Alawadi, a 32-year-old mother of five, who was found unconscious on March 21 in the living room of their home in El Cajon in San Diego County.
Three days later, she was declared dead after taking her off life support.
Police said that hate crime was an option after an apparently xenophobic note was found beside the body of the Iraqi mother.
Considering other options, hate crime remained the highest possibility considered by community activists who pointed to a history of violence and intimidation toward the local Muslim community.
Yale students also rallied on behalf of Trayvon Martin, an African-American teenager who was shot on Feb. 26
Trayvon, an unarmed black Miami teenager who donned a hoodie, was shot to death more than a month ago by George Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch volunteer in Sanford.
A 32-year-old Iraqi immigrant fatally beaten in her home in El Cajon was buried in her native country over the weekend.
Shaima Alawadi, who was found unconscious March 21 by her 17-year-old daughter, was buried in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, south of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
“Oh God, take revenge on those responsible,” Nabil Alawadi screamed in anguish, according to the Associated Press, during the funeral for his daughter. “We are shocked by this criminal act against my daughter who called for love and tolerance.”
Shaima Alawadi’s daughter allegedly found her on the floor in the dining room with a “threatening note” by her side, El Cajon police said. Three days later, her family opted to end life support.
The death of an Iraqi immigrant in San Diego on Saturday, an apparent victim of a hate crime, provoked a wave of outraged comments from bloggers who compared the killing to the shooting of an unarmed Florida teenager last month. The woman, Shaima Alawadi, died three days after her daughter discovered her body in a pool of blood inside their home alongside a note that said, “go back to your country, you terrorist.”
On Twitter, where her death became the most-discussed topic worldwide within hours, bloggers and journalists traced a connection between the headscarf the pious mother of five wore and the hooded sweatshirt 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was wearing when he was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fl.
A police spokesman told The Union-Tribune that the family told investigators a similar note was found outside the house earlier this month, but Ms. Alawadi had dismissed it as a prank and did not report it to the authorities.
The spokesman, Lt. Mark Coit, said: “A hate crime is one of the possibilities and we will be looking at that. We don’t want to focus on one issue and miss something else.”