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 a year ago on this day. 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.
1. A memorial to Trayvon Martin stands outside The Retreat at Twin Lakes community where Trayvon was shot and killed by George Michael Zimmerman (Mario Tama / Getty Images)
1 of 24
2. Trayvon Martin (Martin family photo)
2 of 24
3. George Zimmerman making his first court appearance on April 12 after being charged with second degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin (Getty Images)
3 of 24
4. George Zimmerman led into court (Getty Images)
4 of 24
5. George Zimmerman’s 2005 mug shot. Zimmerman was arrested and charged with battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest
5 of 24
6. Rev. Al Sharpton, the Martin family’s legal team, Trayvon’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, and Trayvon’s brother Jahvaris Fulton, watch as Zimmerman is charged (Getty Images)
6 of 24
7. Rev. Al Sharpton praying with the Martin family (AFP / Getty Images)
7 of 24
8. Family lawyer Benjamin Crump (C) speaks as the parents of Trayvon Martin, mother Sybrina Fulton (R) and father Tracy Martin (2nd-L) listen after hearing George Zimmerman will be charged with second-degree murder (Jim Watson / Getty Images)
8 of 24
9. 7-Eleven store where Trayvon Martin bought Skittles and iced tea before he was shot by George Michael Zimmerman (Roberto Gonzalez / Getty Images)
9 of 24
10. Daniel Byers (L), and his father Curtis Woods hang Skittles candy boxes around their necks during a rally for Trayvon Martin in Sanford, FL (Gerardo Mora / Getty Images)
10 of 24
11. Trayvon Martin rally in Trayvon’s hometown of Miami, FL (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)
11 of 24
12. A Million Hoodies March in New York City’s Union Square (Mario Tama / Getty Images)
12 of 24
13. Rev. Sharpton with singer Chaka Khan at a rally in Sanford (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)
13 of 24
14. Trayvon’s mother Sybrina Fulton hugs a supporter at A Million Hoodies March in NYC (John Moore / Getty Images)
14 of 24
15. Protesters at a rally in Sanford, FL (Mario Tama / Getty Images)
15 of 24
16. Protester at a rally in Sanford, FL (Mario Tama / Getty Images)
16 of 24
17. At this press conference on March 23, President Obama said “if I had a son he’d look like Trayvon.” (Win McNamee / Getty Images)
17 of 24
18. Protesters in Washington D.C. for a Hoodies on the Hill vigil for Trayvon Martin (Washington Post / Getty Images)
18 of 24
19. Rev. Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson with Trayvon Martin’s parents at a community forum (Mario Tama / Getty Images)
19 of 24
20. Protesters rally at the Georgia State Capitol in memory Trayvon Martin on March 26 (Jessica McGowen / Getty Images)
20 of 24
21. College student Jajuan Kelley covers his mouth with a Skittles wrapper at the Atlanta rally (Jessica McGowen / Getty Images)
21 of 24
22. Trayvon Martin’s parents and attorney Benjamin Crump at a Capitol Hill briefing (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)
22 of 24
23. Protester in Washington, D.C. (Mladen Antonov / Getty Images)
23 of 24
24. Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey announcing that George Zimmerman will be charged with second degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin (Win McNamee / Getty Images)
24 of 24
Continue reading Trayvon Martin’s Memory Lives On One Year After Tragic Shooting Death