UPDATED: 10:15 a.m. ET, Feb. 26, 2022 —
On Feb. 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin was 17 years old when he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood vigilante who pursued the teen even after local police told him to stand down. Trayvon helped spark a movement, giving rise to a new wave of racial justice organizing. His life and legacy will never be forgotten.
His death is also seen as the impetus for the Black Lives Matter movement and other formations. In the immediate aftermath of his death, groups like Million Hoodies, Dream Defenders and BYP 100 came to life, providing young people an organizing home. The Movement for Black Lives was formed in 2014, becoming a hub for organizations committed to ending state violence against Black people and helping Black communities have their say in how they are governed.
Florida activists fought against the state’s Stand Your Ground Law, and the movement drew the attention of Andrew Gillum when he was running for governor of the state. Trayvon’s case also helped highlight the racial disparities in gun violence activism.
Trayvon’s family commemorates his life each year with a peace walk on Feb. 5, his birthday. In 2018, a book written by Trayvon’s parents, “Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin,” was adapted into a six-part non-scripted series produced by Jay-Z.
Speaking Saturday morning at a National Action Network (NAN) Rally, Sybrina Fulton shared a few words in memory of her son. Like any mother deprived of their child, Fulton still carries the pain ten years later.
“A lot of people talk about Trayvon Martin’s story,” Fulton began. “It’s not a story for me. It’s a tragedy. Because a story has a beginning and an ending. There is no ending for what I carry in my heart.”
Fulton continued to say that once you give birth to a child, it’s like having your heart walking outside of your body.
“I repeat all the time, not even the death of my son will separate me from the love of my son,” Fulton explained. “Of course, the day is a bittersweet day. I thank God for all the Trayvon Martins that you don’t know.”
Fulton said she thinks about all of the Black and Brown children and young people who have been shot and killed. She said it was important to stand up for all of them, even if their names weren’t known. Fulton issued a general thank you for those standing up for the voiceless and supporting them.
“They need you,” she continued. “They need your voice. And if you don’t do anything else, don’t give up. That’s my message. Don’t ever give up. Ten years later, and I’m still standing strong.”
Trayvon should be with us today.
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