Welcome to week two of the "Peace For" series. This week we will be talking about one of the most well-known cases of children being murdered. This case even grabbed the attention of the president. Ex- President Barack Obama, stated to the media that "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon."
This is the story of Trayvon Martin.
Trayvon, born February 5, 1995, in Florida to Sybrina Fulton (mother) and Tracy Martin (father.) A bright-eyed child with a plan for aviation, he had no criminal record. He was always there for his siblings and was the first on the scene to help where he was needed.
Trayvon, although an honors student, still had trouble at school and was suspended a few times from school. Martin spent his third high school suspension visiting his father and his father's fiancée at her home in a gated community.
The residents of the community established a neighborhood watch in September 2011. George Zimmerman, one of the residents, was selected as the program coordinator. Zimmerman regularly patrolled the streets and was licensed to carry a firearm. From August 2011 to February 2012, Zimmerman had called police several times stating that he had seen "suspicious activity."
All of the reported figures were black males.
But then, that day came.
February 26, 2012, Sanford, FL.
Zimmerman noticed Martin leaving a 7-11 and called the police to complain about suspicious activity. This occurred at 7:11 pm. Surveillance cameras would later show that there was no criminal activity by Martin. He began to run when he noticed Zimmerman following him. Less than a hundred yards from his front door, Martin was shot in the chest. At 7:17 PM, a police officer was on the scene. It was explained there was a scuff and Zimmerman was forced to the ground by seventeen-year-old Trayvon, who was unarmed. Zimmerman had a bit of blood on his arm and head as Trayvon laid dead with a bullet in his chest.
Trayvon's father wasn't even aware until the next morning when he tried to file a missing person report.
The officer then took Zimmerman into custody, who claimed he shot Martin in self-defense. Zimmerman was shortly released with no charges filed.
Having gotten legal representation, Martin's parents also created a Change.org document that received more than a million signatures calling for Zimmerman to be placed under arrest. The case became a social media phenomenon and national story, with Zimmerman's critics alleging that racial antipathies may have motivated his actions.
Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder.
The trial began on after the selection of an all-female jury. He was acquitted. He would later be charged with assault on his girlfriend.
This case sparked the world's heart in reminding us that racism hasn't died. Many will argue that race has nothing to do with this case but it seems oddly suspicious to me that it was only black males that were being called for "suspicious activity."
I have a few questions about this:
1. Trayvon was unarmed. How could he force Zimmerman to the ground?
2. Why did Zimmerman choose Trayvon to follow? The only evidence we have is that he was a young, black male.
3. How could anyone look at this case and not see 21st-century racism?
Again, I want to make clear that this series isn't to bash or carry on about a group of people. This brings light to those names and faces we have forgotten. Although this was a huge case, it may not be clear to those that this was one of the first cases where communities began to pay attention and remember that children are being hurt. Those little lives with hope and dreams in their eyes, now encased in time and forever young. This is for Trayvon. This is for justice.
This is for peace.