A year after a jury acquitted George Zimmerman of murdering Trayvon Martin, the trial’s outcome clearing the former neighborhood watch volunteer is a source of ongoing activism and debate

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After deliberating for more than 15 hours over two days, a jury of six women found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter on July 13, 2013.

Police initially did not charge Zimmerman with a crime, citing Florida’s stand-your-ground law, which states a person does not have to retreat in the face of a threat and can use deadly force if fearing danger of death or serious harm. Zimmerman argued that he shot Trayvon, 17, in self defense after the teen attacked him in a gated Sanford, Florida, community on Feb. 26, 2012. Trayvon’s family maintains the young man, who was black, and wearing a hoodie, was profiled, pursued, and murdered.


As a result, the case and outcome captured the nation’s attention and set off demonstrations everywhere around the world.

Although frustration is still lingering from that tragic decision of injustice to acquit Zimmerman of all charges, over the last year, Trayvons family and supporters are channeling their frustrations into a more productive cause, improving the criminal justice system and preventing racial discrimination.

The death of Trayvon Martin, even Jordan Davis, and many others like them, are deeply embedded in institutional injustice and structural violence. The core inequalities in our society must be attacked if we are to put a stop to the senseless deaths and systematic violence inflicted upon African-American people everyday.

-Tamara El(@MwiliHakalu)