On February 26th, 2012, George Zimmerman shot unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin as he walked through a subdivision to his father’s fiancée's home. The shooting occurred in Sanford, Florida, a city that holds a population less than 60,000 and has a crime rate higher than both its state and national average.
After walking to a 7-Eleven convenience store to purchase a sweet tea and some Skittles, Martin headed back to his father's fiancée's townhouse. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch coordinator at the time, noticed Martin walking and reported that he saw "a suspicious person" to Sanford 911; he was instructed not to get out of his SUV or approach the person. Refusing to comply with instructions, he subsequently trailed Martin, which led to a verbal exchange and physical altercation between the two. In the end, Zimmerman fired a single shot into Martin's chest, killing the teen.
Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder with the option of manslaughter for the shooting. He argued that he shot Martin in self-defense. In July 2013, a jury found him not guilty for the murder.
It's now been two years since Martin was killed. And it's presumable that the emotional wounds that his family and friends suffered from the occurrence are still as fresh as they were the day it happened. His murder brought forth a blitz of community outrage and support. People across the globe rallied and protested in his honor while sporting similar hooded sweatshirts as the one he wore the night he was killed. President Barack Obama even commented on the incident, stating if he had a son, "he'd look like Trayvon."
Ultimately, justice, in the eyes of many, wasn't served. The person responsible for Martin's murder is free and the media frenzy surrounding his death has ceased. Nevertheless, Martin's memory still lives on, and although his life was ended before he could reach his full potential, the movement that his death brought forth will forever be a part of history.
Worth noting, Martin was killed during Black History Month, a period set aside for African-Americans (and other races) to reminisce and/or learn about the sacrifices that black people have made throughout the years, the hardships they've experienced, the life-threatening circumstances they've overcome, and the contributions they've provided to the world.
Martin's story is another part of that extensive historical catalog, despite the fashion it was added to it. It's imperative that we all learn from his unfortunate and untimely death. And it's equally important that we do what we can to help limit similar occurrences in the future.