When Cunningham read about the murder of Trayvon last month, he turned to Change.org to add his voice to those who were expressing outrage about the Florida police department’s handling of the case.
One month later he never thought that the petition he started would garner more than 2 million signatures and help draw international attention to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Talking with MSNBC, Cunningham said:
"I decided to take the skills that I’ve been working on … and apply them to the situation and see how well it would work out, and it just went crazy on me. What I’ve learned through social media, you don’t have to go through institutions anymore. … Any individual with any idea can make it work if they have (a) connection to the Internet."
Cunningham is the son of activist parents and describes himself as “super Irish,” saying he learned about the Martin case when he read a story posted on a bulletin board for Men of Howard, an informal, secretive fraternity that he joined while attending the historically black Howard University as a law student.
When he suggested starting an online appeal calling for prosecution of the shooter, neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, the proposal was met with both support and skepticism from other subscribers.
"At Howard, they tell us as soon as you get there, ‘If you’re going to be a lawyer, you’re either a social engineer or a parasite on the society.’ … that’s how I think about life … is to be a social engineer, and that’s what my parents were always trying to be," he said.
Asked whether he thought people might be surprised to learn that a white man was responsible for the petition demanding justice for a black teenager he had never met, Cunningham said he didn’t "believe in black and white."
“The only race I believe in is the human race,” he said.
Cunningham has the right attitude and his petition was the fastest growing in Change.org’s history, which goes to show that people - of every race - want justice for Trayvon. #HoodiesUp
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