Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade has been an active presence in discussions surrounding the killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin ever since the story gained national traction in March 2012. At the time, Wade posted a photo to Facebook of himself wearing a hooded sweatshirt (mimicking Martin's clothing on the night he was killed in a display of solidarity), took part in a photo featuring 13 members of the Miami Heat in the same outfit, wrote Martin-inspired messages on his in-game shoes, and spoke openly about why the event resonates with him and other black men. It's both a personal and public issue for Wade, something that speaks to both his experiences and those of others like him.
With George Zimmerman having been acquitted of murder charges for Martin's killing in July, the magazine Ebony has issued four special covers featuring the headline "We Are Trayvon" and feature stories on the verdict and surrounding subjects for its September issue. In addition to a cover featuring Martin's mother Sybrina Fulton, father Tracy Martin, and brother Jahvaris Fulton, three famous African-American men posed with their sons in hoodies. That group includes Wade, his 11-year-old son Zaire, and his six-year-old son Zion.
Take a look at the Wade cover above; visit The Huffington Post for the covers of Martin's family, filmmaker Spike Lee, and actor Boris Kodjoe; and join us after the jump for more on Wade and this issue.
Julee Wilson of The Huffington Post has more on the covers and the substance of this edition of the magazine:
The powerful images give way to an issue that includes an exclusive interview with Trayvon Martin’s parents and a piece with Lee, Kodjoe and Wade exploring how they approach the topic of racism with their sons. Readers will also find an article on racial profiling by Columbia University professor and HuffPost Live host Marc Lamont Hill; a prayer of healing by Bishop T.D. Jakes; a poem for Trayvon Martin by Jill Scott and more.
“As a mother of a young Black boy, the tragedy of Travyon Martin affected me deeply,” said Ebony’s Editor-in-Chief Amy Barnett in a press release. “We simply cannot allow the conversations on this issue to come to a standstill. As the leading source for an authoritative perspective on the African-American community, at Ebony we are committed to serving as a hub for Black America to explore solutions, and to giving readers the information and tools they need to help ensure a bright future for all of our children.”
In conjunction with Ebony's five-part “Saving Our Sons” series, which launched in the May 2013 issue, the glossy is partnering with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans to host a series of town hall meetings across the country to discuss the state of Black boys. The program will run from November 2013 to December 2014 and commence at Morehouse College.
Wade has promoted responsible fatherhood and helping at-risk youth in many off-court activities, publishing his first book "Father First" in 2012 and supporting many programs through his Wade's World Foundation. Like many Americans, though, he has taken specific interest in Martin's story. In the immediate aftermath of the verdict, he expressed great sadness on Twitter:
Wow!!! Stunned!!! Saddened as a father!!! Some1 make sense of this verdict for me right now please!!! Don't worry I'll wait...
— THREE (@DwyaneWade) July 14, 2013
In the weeks since this tweet, there have been enough justifications and arguments regarding the verdict that we don't have to repeat them here. What's clear, though, is that Wade feels a deep connection to the specifics and broader issues of this case. He grew up in Chicago, a city rife with gun violence; he is raising two young boys who may be viewed with race-based suspicion regardless of their financial privilege; he plays in the same state where Martin was shot. The parallels and connections are there for all to see. He has appeared on many magazine covers in his career, but this one clearly has a special meaning.
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