Trayvon Martin (pictured), a 17-year-old African-American high school student in Florida, was senselessly murdered on this day a year ago, after crossing paths with volunteer night watchman George Zimmerman. The killing galvanized national protest, with many wondering how an unarmed boy casually walking home from a convenience store could lose his life in such a flash. As the case began to unfold amid media speculation, a family was left shattered and openly grieving.
On the night of Feb. 26th, Zimmerman was reportedly patrolling the gated community Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Fla. As Trayvon was reportedly heading back from a nearby corner store to rejoin his younger brother to watch the 2012 NBA All-Star festivities, Zimmerman assumed the teen was up to no good. Following procedure, Zimmerman radioed in Martin’s activity.
Even though Zimmerman was ordered to wait on the arrival of authorities before intervening, Zimmerman did not heed the orders, leading to a confrontation that tragically led to the killing of Trayvon Martin.
Claiming the wiry Martin attacked him, Zimmerman said he fired his handgun in self-defense and invoked the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law as a basis for his actions.
After Trayvon’s murder, Zimmerman was not charged; instead, he was released after a brief police investigation.
Trayvon’s parents, flanked by family attorney Benjamin Crump, led a loud chorus of protestors and garnered support from various media personalities and much of the nation. Social media campaigns were erected, with many wearing hoodies in honor of the slain Martin, which was partly inspired by one of the last photos of the baby-faced teen.
After Special Prosecutor Angela B. Corey was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to handle the case in March, George Zimmerman was formerly charged with second-degree murder on April 11, 2012.
Zimmerman turned himself in and plead not guilty, standing by his self-defense claims from the initial report. The former watchman is currently free on $1 million bail as he awaits trial for the “Stand Your Ground” hearing on April 22 of this year. A later trial for the murder charge is still undergoing an arduous jury-selection process.
Tracey Martin (pictured above kissing son) and Sybrina Fulton (pictured right), Travyon’s parents, carried the weight of the loss as graciously as anyone could hope.
Appearing on morning talk shows, radio programs, and public appearances, the pair have banded together in honor of their son despite a dissolved romantic relationship years prior.
Exhibiting strength where many others would falter, Trayon’s father and mother have been an inspiration for other parents seeking justice for the unlawful killing of their children in the name of the law.
Watch news coverage of the vigils being held in Trayvon’s memory on Tuesday here:
The November killing of Jordan Davis triggered memories of the Martin case as another unarmed Black boy was killed by an older, armed White man claiming to be threatened. If there is fairness in the world, Zimmerman will pay for his crime justly, as will Michael David Dunn. The courts can’t bring back Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, but there is hope that the truth will prevail and the legal actions forthcoming can prevent future tragedies such as these.