Radio Rookies: I Am Trayvon Martin

Friday, March 23, 2012

Vincent Marrero is a sophomore at Vanguard High School and is a member of WNYC’s Radio Rookies program, which trains teenagers how to report on stories in their own lives and communities.

I was shocked to hear about what happened to Trayvon Martin, but I wasn’t surprised that he was targeted because he was a black kid in a hooded sweatshirt.

I wear a hoodie a lot, and I know when I walk through certain neighborhoods and see a cop that I’m probably going to get stopped. 

The first time I got stopped by the police I was 14. I didn’t know what was going on. I remember I had been hanging out with friends and it was getting kind of dark.  I was walking alone up Avenue D and all of a sudden I heard the sound of a police car.

The cop told me it was mandatory — “Just get on the wall, I want to see what you got in your pockets.” 

It felt kind of like getting a checkup at the doctor.  I wasn’t really comfortable having him touch me like that, but I thought he had the right because he’s an officer and that’s his job. 

I remember my mom used to tell me that the police are there to help us and that I should always listen to them no matter what.  I wasn’t about to go against the officer so I was just like, “Get it over with.” I felt guilty. I just felt like, "You’re stopping me? I obviously must’ve done something wrong."

When I got home and told my mom I thought she was going to hold me, make me mac n’ cheese. But she just looked at me like, “It happens.”

Vincent reported his audio slide show as a part of our Neighborhood to Neighborhood project, in partnership with Facing History and Ourselves and with special funding from The Hive Digital Media Learning in the New York Community Trust and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.


Courtney Stein


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Comments [4]


Fabulous job, Vincent.

Jul. 15 2013 12:24 PM

I certainly hope you pay the radio rookies a fair wage -- it would mean a lot to them, as well as your financial supporters.

Jul. 15 2013 08:58 AM
Marty Horton from Daytona Beach, FL

Wonderful job Vincent. I live here in Daytona Beach, FL and I think you and your school are doing a great job with the reporters. I am an older person so I get very angry with the police for doing the things that they are doing. It's not fair to you as a young black male to be search because you are walking down the streets. Trayvon was shot by a non-cop, but they Sanford chief covered it up. What is wrong with this country where now the youth of blacks of hispanics are target for the police to beat, kill, and harrass. What can we do to deter such action. What you are doing Vincent is a start. No, the police are not allow to just stop you on the streets and search you. No, they do not have that right to do such action. The motto to all police officers is TO PROTECT AND SERVE. NOT KILL, HARRASS, AND BEAT!

Mar. 24 2012 07:31 AM
Jolie from Los Angeles

And letting them do it for no pay prepares them for what's ahead in the real workplace. Especially if they have dreams of working in media.

Mar. 23 2012 07:54 PM

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