Trayvon Martin Died One Year Ago Today & Nothing Has Changed

Heartbreaking 34

Trayvon MartinThis is the moment. Trayvon Martin died at almost this exact moment one year ago. Candlelight vigils are being held in his honor in Florida and New York City, social media has once again been leveraged to memorialize the tragedy, news outlets have marked the anniversary appropriately with reflective coverage and thoughtful commentary, but nothing will compensate for the final breath that 17-year-old child took on this day.

Trayvon didn't make his mark on black history like he could have. He’s not the only young, unarmed African-American boy to be murdered without just cause or provocation and, unfortunately—but very realistically—he won’t be the last. But his is the story that brings the issue to the fore. His death has been the catalyst for the conversation about race that we’ve been avoiding as a country. 

Why have so many black children died because of gun violence? And why has it been so tedious, so hard, so laborious to get the powers that be to care?

Travyon has not been, nor should he be, a martyr for anybody’s cause. His life is more meaningful than that. He, like Emmett Till, was a regular child living a regular life that was snuffed out because racism seethed unchecked and the availability of a weapon allowed it to become murder. Emmett was killed because of mob mentality. So was Trayvon. Because even though George Zimmerman physically acted alone, years of racist, discriminatory group think informed his decision to zero in on a black boy in a hoodie with a pack of Skittles and an iced tea and see him as a threat. A target. An enemy.

That makes Zimmerman the martyr for centuries for unresolved racial tension.

There’s a chance he will never be brought to justice. Let’s just be honest. Media coverage of the case has waned over the last 365 days, trickling to news that has to be sought out in Google searches when it was once a top-of-the-hour headline readily dispensed to the public. But when you do find out what’s going on, you learn that Zimmerman's attorney will brandish the Stand Your Ground law at an April 29 hearing, which may grant his client immunity and allow him to shirk a criminal trial altogether. That’s saddening. But it’s happened so many times before.

It’s one thing for black folks to be outraged. We live the realities of racism, even on the subtlest, most deeply ingrained levels. But I commend the white people who understand and acknowledge the power of their privilege—which basically cushions them from any race-related unpleasantries and gives them a ready-made advantage—but still stand in solidarity to demand real conversation about race. To demand justice for Trayvon and all of the other unnamed victims like him.

I wish more people would just acknowledge cultural terrorism and wonder what they can do to help fix it instead of acting like we’re being ridiculously oversensitive or, just as bad, that we should “get over it.”

Trayvon’s death will be in vain, conviction or not, if we don't have an honest conversation about how boys who look like him are already marked for failure just because of their race and how the chips are stacked against them. It's not a pity party or a sob story. It's something that can be changed. It might be uncomfortable. But even more uncomfortable is having to observe the anniversaries of slain black children with no end to the violence in sight.

Why are Americans still so uncomfortable with open, honest conversations about race?


Image via amberjamiewordpress/Flickr

crime, death, discrimination, in the news, law, media, racism, protests

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nonmember avatar Jayda

I'm sorry but i'm so tired of hearing about this guy..SOOO many black children are murdered for no reason in my area. Also do your research the parents only gave out pictures of him when he was ALOT younger because in recent pics he's throwin up gangster signs and don't look like the sweet innocent kid the media made him out to be.

ToolA... ToolArmy066

I totally agree jayda

bills... billsfan1104

We cannot have an honest discussion because you Janelle like to scream Racism every minute of the day. There has been absolutely no proof that Trayvon was killed because of racism, just what the poverty pimps Jesse and All said and what Msnbc doctored.

When stop sceaming "racist" and stop making yourself and your daughter a victim, when things don't go your way, we can have an honest discussion. But until then, it won't happen.

bills... billsfan1104

I am also sick and tired of being made to feel bad, because I am white. My children have the same exact opportunities that Trayvon did. The only difference is is that I demand they get an education and discipline them when they do wrong. I also teach them values and to respect themselves and not to get pregnant until they are married or out of school, because it is much harder to make something of yourself with kids. It can be done. How about you acknowledge that 7 out of 10 kids born in the black community are born out of wedlock?

tuffy... tuffymama

Trayvon was a wannabe gangbanger and had in his hands his purchase from the store: the ingredients to go back to his house and make Drank so he could get fucked up and find no good to get up to, just like most other nights. How dare you invoke the name of Emmett Till, a true child martyr, and bind Trayvon Martin to his memory? Trayvon was no innocent child, and he was no underfed honor student. He was more than a head taller than Zimmerman. People like you and crap like this, where every "black child" is a victim, are why we cannot have honest discussions about race in this country. Asians, Hispanics, whites, and Natives have no problem discussing race calmly. And the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the world perpetuate the hysteria and irrationality because they make big bucks off of the division. Which mouth can holler louder? Stuff that one with cash. SMDH.

Megara Megara

I live near Sanford, I have friends that live in Sanford, and, like George Zimmerman, I am a "white hispanic" (white father, hispanic mother).  What happened was a tragedy, but it was not racism.  Trayvon Martin was not killed because of his race.  Period.  End of story.  I could go on with facts of the case that were not given much media attention, but really the only thing that matters is that a 16 year old was killed (don't pretend that he was a litle child) and a man's life has changed forever because of a mistake.  Not because of racism.

Coles... Coles_mom

Sick to death of the race card. Kid was a punk. He wasn't killed because he was black...he was killed because he was viewed as a threat. The dude that killed him wasn't white!!!! Get over the racism issue in this story!!!

Pinkmani Pinkmani

Of course nothing has changed, trials takes a while... I wouldn't go as far as to say that he was a wanna-be gangster, I think he was just a typical kid immitating what he sees around him.


As far as I'm concerned, if Zimmerman felt threatened he could have stayed in his car or went inside his home. There was no need to shoot the kid. 

Misty... Misty.Dawn

Everyone basically said everything i wouldve! I started reading this without seeing who wrote it. Once i started, i KNEW it was janelles. She cant seem to write a story without throwing race in there somewhere...

wamom223 wamom223

Pinkmani you just showed how little you know about the case.  Zimmerman only pulled his gun after he was attacked and in the middle of the scuffle. 

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