Two years ago today, the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin at the hands of volunteer night watchman George Zimmerman in a Florida suburb shocked the nation. Galvanized by the unfortunate event, supporters rallied in great numbers around the country calling for justice. As was realized at Zimmerman’s trial last July, Martin’s killer would walk free while the family mourned the loss of their son.
Since the tragedy took place, the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law that Zimmerman used in his defense case has reared its head again in other cases that many feel are injustices. Most recently, the trial of Michael Dunn and his killing of Florida teen Jordan Davis served as an ugly reminder of the Martin case by way of the similar and questionable racial implications.
As noted in an investigative story by MSNBC, African-American citizens who lived near where Martin lost his life have been trying to process the happenings of the case. Given the fact that Zimmerman’s verdict last summer didn’t go exactly as hoped made matters worse, and there are many in the area who feel that they’ll never receive fair treatment under the law.
NewsOne traveled to Sanford in 2012, the case still fresh in the minds of many. The passion and pain exhibited by the largely African-American crowd in attendance was matched and perhaps eclipsed by Travyon’s parents, Tracey Martin and Sybrina Fulton. Their bravery in addressing the crowd and graciously greeting supporters spoke volumes about their character and they continue to keep their son’s memory alive to this day.
Ms. Fulton has refused to be silent, using her grief as a powerful starting point for a national debate regarding racial injustice, gun violence, and the Stand Your Ground laws. In fact, this Friday Ms. Fulton will speak at University of Connecticut’s Student Union Ballroom. In a joint statement published within a press release for this event, Ms. Fulton and Mr. Martin showed their support of the Jordan Davis family.
“The killing is yet another reminder that, in Florida, racial profiling and stereotypes may serve as the basis for imaginary fear and the shooting and killing of young teenagers,” Martin’s parents said in a joint statement. “We walk with Jordan in defining his legacy to reflect our hopes by advancing love and tolerance in his memory, and continuing the fight against unjust gun laws.”
Zimmerman has been in the press of late, conducting a series of interviews in both Spanish and American markets discussing how he fears for his life and how he wishes he could return to a place of normalcy. Since his acquittal last year, Zimmerman has had brushes with the law and was accused of domestic violence by his ex-wife and later, his girlfriend.
Zimmerman also began several bizarre public campaigns, such as selling his fledgling artwork for money, and agreeing to enter a now canceled celebrity boxing match. He has maintained the stance that he was defending his life despite the fact he initiated the confrontation and didn’t obey the commands of authorities. Abusing his privilege and the law, Zimmerman’s actions will haunt his every move as many believe it should.
Earlier this month in Miami Gardens, a “peace walk” and gala in honor of what would have been Trayvon’s 19th birthday was held. Actor Jamie Foxx attended the rally, addressing the crowd with a frank message of how young Black persons need to heed the racial implications of gun violence. Foxx openly pledged his support to Mr. Martin and Ms. Fulton, saying that other celebrities in Hollywood are standing with them.
Several people carry anger in their hearts over the case, especially those who feel Zimmerman has made a mockery of the incident by even considering himself a celebrity after the death of Trayvon.
Perhaps the greatest lesson for all is the shining examples of his parents continuing to peacefully uplift their son in spirit and act as a beacon of justice for others like them who lost a loved one far too soon.