But on February 26, 2012 that all changed. That was the day that Trayvon Martin was tragically killed for doing nothing more than walking down the street, wearing a hoodie and jiggling Skittles in his pocket. As we know,Martin, who was unarmed, was shot to death by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in a gated community in Sandford, Florida.
And while many believe that Zimmerman murdered the 17-year-old, sadly a jury didn’t.
But be clear: Just because Martin’s family were robbed of justice, but that doesn’t mean their son’s tragic death was in vain. Like Mike Brown’s death years later, Trayvon’s death woke up Black America. It also helped morphed the phrase “Black Lives Matter” from beyond a popular and empowering hashtag into a bonafide and influential movement. A movement that refuses to be quiet about the injustices that Black and Latino people endure by the hands of systematic racism and police brutality. A movement that mobilized African-Americans and our allies from all walks of life, to take to the streets, create real change, and even use that power to shift the political discourse in this country.
Like Emmett Till was to the Civil Rights Movement, Martin is to the Black Lives Matter Movement.
On Sunday, people took to Twitter to remember and honor Martin’s life: