Trayvon Martin has turned into the symbol of racial profiling in American, and on the day remembering one of the nation’s greatest Civil Rights leaders the 17-year-old shooting victim is again coming into focus.
In the lead-up to the 30th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the legacy of Trayvon Martin is taking shape and his killing resurfacing.
At the University of Utah, Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton was invited to speak and lead a discussion at a celebration for MLK Day.
Fulton said she wants her son to be remembered, and the lessons from his death to live on.
“There should not become a time when we are comfortable with burying our children,” Fulton said. “What happened many miles away in Sanford should be uncomfortable for you.”
On February 26, 2012, Travyon Martin was walking back from a convenience store to the house where he and his father were staying inside a gated community in Sanford, Florida. Self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman saw Martin and suspected he was a burglar, calling police.
Though police warned Zimmerman to stay put, he followed the teenager, and after a fight between the two he shot Trayvon Martin, killing the teen.
Zimmerman was acquitted in July, citing Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law that allows for deadly force to be used without a duty to retreat.
But Martin’s parents still believe that Zimmerman targeted their son because of the color of his skin.
“But is it the hoodie that really made the difference? Or the color of his skin?” Fulton asked. “And if by one second, just by one mere second, we think that it’s the color of his skin, then something is wrong with America.”
The legacy of Trayvon Martin has not faded in the nearly two years since his death. He is still cited as the example of racial profiling in America, and remains a martyr to many seeking equal rights.