Trayvon Martin: 5 Years Later
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Five years since the cold murder of their beloved son, Trayvon Martin, Martin’s parents have released the story of his life, and the progression of time calls for immediate reflection over whether or not the country has truly experienced change in racial or social injustice.
On February 26, 2012, 17 year old Trayvon Martin was shot and murdered in a Sanford, Florida apartment complex by former neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman.
Martin, who would have turned 22 years old this past February, was originally from Miami, Florida. That February, he was in Sanford visiting his father, while walking through his father’s apartment complex wearing a hooded sweatshirt. In Martin’s possession, were his cellphone, and most notably, a bag of Skittles and an Arizona sweet tea.
Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain at the time, called 911 to report a “suspicious person,” and was instructed by police not to get out of his vehicle or further pursue Martin. Choosing not to follow these very explicitly given directions, Zimmerman approached Martin, attempting to confront him, and their altercation rather quickly lead to the fatal murder of the 17 year old.
Millions of people across the country rallied together, chanting ‘Justice for Trayvon Martin,’ hoping and praying that justice would be served and avenge the premature death of the wholly innocent African-American teenager. However, the court ruled in favor of Zimmerman and allowed him to walk free of any and all charges.
Many were left deeply devastated and appalled in response to the decision made by the court. If Zimmerman followed the instructions of law enforcement officers to remain inside of his vehicle, and not pursue Martin, the young man would still be alive and well to this very day, right? So how could it be that his murderer was able to walk free for killing an innocent and unarmed minor? While the country collectively wept in devastation, a new movement for racial and social justice was born.
Now, half of a decade later, still struggling to face the reality of their son’s death, Martin’s parents have released a book on the life of their son, “Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin.” Martin’s parents offer a perspective and view that only they can tell or understand. The book was released officially on January 31, 2017.
While many reflect over these past five years, it is evident that recent years have brought about what appears to be a mass break out in police brutality. There have been countless situations where policemen have abused their authority and blacks, and other citizen groups alike, have innocently lost their lives at the expense of the same ones whose primary job is to serve and protect all American citizens. Modern technology has offered video footage of people like Eric Garner or Philando Castile being shot dead in the street, merely for being young and black, much like Martin.
Popularly through the still newly founded “Black Lives Matter” movement, people across America are fighting every day to ensure justice for those whose justice is not ensured by the court. While there is still so much further to go, advocates for black rights and the rights of all people are fighting every day to ensure that minority groups do not fall victim of unjust laws, court decisions, or unequal treatment across the board.