Trayvon Benjamin Martin would’ve been, could’ve been, should’ve been, 20 years old two weeks ago on February 5, 2015.
Let’s just take a moment to think about this for a second. Three years ago, two loving parents had to bury their teenage child because he, at the hands of a careless man, justified by the court, was shot dead.
Trayvon Martin’s death should’ve set a warning and a form of discouragement for future conflicts like this, but especially in the year 2014, we saw constant unjust actions towards the black community in America. This claim can be proven through the deaths of Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and hundreds of other deaths not publicized enough by the media. Nearly all of them were proven to be unarmed, all of them wanted to settle the conflict in a peaceful way, and still their desires were met with retaliation on the part of the police force, and even when it was brought to court.
For those who’s memory is waning about exactly what happened with Trayvon Martin, the following is a recap.
George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch-captain of their community in Sanford, Florida, reported to the police of a “suspicious person” in the area from inside his SUV. Although he received directions from the police to remain inside the vehicle and to not engage with this “suspicious person” until the police arrive, Zimmerman ended up shooting and murdering the “suspicious person”, also known as Trayvon Martin, who had just turned 17 a week ago at the time.
Here comes an astonishing part — Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin’s father, had to file for a missing person’s report a day later to find his son. But when the police responded and Tracy Martin found his son, he was dead. Soon after, Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman’s case was taken to court, and there, much to the dismay of the general public, the judge ruled that George Zimmerman was innocent because there was no sound evidence to prove that his story was not true.
Hundreds, thousands of people mourn Martin’s death even today. The general public may have forgotten, the media may have forgotten, but there are people that still remember — as they should. Injustice upon injustice is continuing to pile up with every innocent death of an African-American, and America, as well as much of the world, continues to put this race under a spotlight, under a stereotype, it does not belong in.
From Martin’s death sprang the hashtag movement #BlackLivesMatter, which has recently come into light once more from the innocent deaths of Eric Garner and Mike Brown.
It’s hard to avoid stereotypes, but they are something that we all can do better off living without. And just imagine how great would it be if we become the generation to get rid of such discriminating, incorrect labeling once and for all.
– Faith Choi (’16)
Header: Keene Point Of View