Today marks 9 years since Trayvon Martin was killed.
I remember the facts leading up to the final moments of Martin’s life. The high school student was on his way to his father’s fiancee’s house from a local Miami gas station, skittles and Arizona tea in hand. He was on the phone with his girlfriend, calling out his own anxiety because he believed someone was following him. He was correct—someone was lurking behind him. George Zimmerman thought the boy looked “suspicious,” a code racists use when a Black person is somewhere they don’t believe they should be.
Zimmerman called the police (which can be an act of racism in itself), and pursued Martin while in possession of a gun. After a confrontation, he shot the boy, killing him. America was never the same.
The following years have brought about anguish, petrification and immense sadness. We mourned with and for Martin’s family—his father, Tracy Martin, his mother, Sybrina Fulton, his father’s fiancee and his younger brother—holding with our bare hands the sorrow they have felt for nearly 10 years now.
Trayvon Martin was a child. Only a child. The lilies were just blooming in the dawn of his life. Some have had difficultly with affording young Black folks their childhood, like Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, maturing them with inappropriate descriptors and callousness. But those of good conscious are constantly made aware of Martin’s youth and would never seek to strip him of it. We see it in his eyes, bright with fever, as he attended space camp. We see it in his sweet smile in the photo that was widely spread after his passing. We know of the light that lived within his heart and it is our duty to always remember and honor it.
As we continue to fight for Trayvon, may we all maintain our meditations on that light. We owe him enduring love, respect and commemoration.