Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old Florida teen shot and killed in February 2012, has received the greatest volume of media attention from most any legal case in recent history. The allegedly racially-charged shooting trial finally ended last month when a jury acquitted neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, citing that there just wasn’t enough evidence to find him guilty of murder.
Now, Trayvon Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, are speaking out about what they hope Trayvon’s death will change for America.
At the 50th anniversary commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s infamous march on Washington on August 28,1963, Martin’s family spoke of his life and death in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Along with his mother, Martin’s brother, Jahvaris Fulton stood to the side holding a “Support Trayvon’s Law” sign. Reverend Al Sharpton also stood on the stage with the family, among others.
Sybrina Fulton recently told the BBC, “We’ve said the verdict will not define Trayvon’s life. We are just committed to change, to being some type of positive influence.” She has also expressed the family’s need to forgive Zimmerman, though she says that isn’t something they are able to comprehend or deal with yet.
Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, also voiced his opinion of the final verdict in the case, calling it “questionable.” Powell, on CBS’ Face the Nation, predicted that Martin’s case may fizzle out before long, saying cases such as Trayvon Martin’s, “blaze across the midnight sky,” before they are, eventually, barely even remembered.
Reports surfaced earlier this month that the Smithsonian Museum was interested in acquiring the blood-stained and bullet-holed sweatshirt Martin was wearing the night he died for their collection. Many thought this may keep the case in the spotlight for years to come. (Later, however, the Smithsonian refuted these claims.)
Trayvon’s “hoodie” became one of the most important pieces of evidence from, and symbols of, the shooting. Reportedly, in Zimmerman’s first description of the teen, he described the assailant as “wearing a hoodie.” Many people have taken that comment to be a racial profiling of the neighborhood watchman’s alleged “attacker,” aligning most kids today wearing hoodies with trouble. In support of Trayvon, many of his followers wore hoodies to protest at demonstrations. Van White, an attorney and founder of the Center for the Study of Civil and Human Rights Laws, as well as one of the main organizers’ of yesterday’s commemorative march, said of the infamous hoodie:
“If this [march] ends with just showing our frustration — we’re all carrying Skittles bags and wearing hoodies — if that’s where it ends, then Trayvon Martin would have died in vain. If we don’t create through this an opportunity, they will not remember this march if it’s just about Trayvon.”
Protesters of Trayvon’s death and acquittal of Zimmerman are still going strong, however; Law & Order: SVU is apparently filming an upcoming episode dealing with the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman trial, combining it with the other major controversial case of 2013, that of Paula Deen’s alleged bigotry. (The 15th season of Law & Order begins on September 25.)
Image Courtesy David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons