Trayvon Martin: Parents Reflect on Anniversary of Slain Teenager’s Death

by Deona Hooper, MSW

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

One year ago, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman while walking home from the store with a bag of skittles and ice tea. The story captivated the nation and evoked the examination of  “Stand Your Ground Laws”  being applied in red states across the country. Many who advocated on behalf of George Zimmerman argue that he is a victim of racial tension which has drawn much scrutiny to a self-defense case. However, advocates for Trayvon Martin state that self-defense is an argument to be made in front of a jury and not a police officer determining whether to arrest or not.

On February 26, 2013,  the parents of Trayvon Martin, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, held a million hoodies vigil to mark the one year anniversary of his death. Trayvon’s death sparked a national debate on gun violence, and his parents have since become activist in speaking out on tragedies such as Aurora and Sandy Hook. George Zimmerman’s trial is set to begin in June after a judge denied a request by his attorney’s for a delay.

US Today did a great article complete with a time line from the initial shooting, and here is an excerpt:

Robert Zimmerman wears bulletproof vests when he goes outside his house. He doesn’t greet neighbors or look grocery store cashiers in the eye. Once, angry customers at Starbucks confronted him over one of the nation’s most controversial cases.

Zimmerman is not a suspect, but his brother, George, is the man accused of murdering Trayvon Martin a year ago Feb. 26. Like Trayvon’s family, Zimmerman’s family has been forever changed since the night Trayvon, a teenager who prosecutors say was racially profiled, was fatally shot in a dark Florida subdivision.

Amid plans for a vigil in memory of Trayvon in New York City, the families of George Zimmerman and Trayvon are speaking as publicly about the case as ever.

“George’s entire family was smeared by proxy,” said Robert Zimmerman, 31, who moved from Virginia to act as a full-time spokesman for his family. “The situation goes from peaceful to anxious, having uttered the Zimmerman name in public.”

Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, 46, continues to be haunted by the moment he identified his son’s dead body. For him, Feb. 26, the day of the shooting, and Feb. 27, the morning he identified his son, mark the worst days of his life.

“I just want to erase those two days,” he said. “No healing has been done inside my heart.”

Martin, a truck driver, hasn’t gotten a chance to grieve because of his public battle to get George Zimmerman arrested and charged. Instead of grief counselors and moments of reflection, the last year has been about speaking out against the racial profiling he says led Zimmerman to target his son. For Martin, peace may begin if a jury convicts Zimmerman.

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View Pundits discussion the Trayvon Martin Case and Gun Violence

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Deona Hooper, MSW

Deona Hooper, MSW is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Social Work Helper, and she has experience in nonprofit communications, tech development and social media consulting. Deona has a Masters in Social Work with a concentration in Management and Community Practice as well as a Certificate in Nonprofit Management both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. View all posts by Deona Hooper, MSW

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