Eight years ago on this date during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by self-appointed Neighborhood Watch person George Zimmerman in his father’s neighborhood of Sanford, Florida, outside of Orlando. Martin was only carrying a can of Arizona Ice Tea and a pack of Skittles.
After Martin’s death and Zimmerman’s acquittal, a epidemic of young Black males dying at the hands of law enforcement and citizens alike hit the streets of America, such as Botham Jean, Sandra Bland, Jordan Davis, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Akai Gurley and a host of others in which almost no one was held responsible for their deaths. In some of the cases, the municipalities of the cities where the deaths occurred, sued the estates of the deceased.
The death of Trayvon marks a dramatic turning point in the history of America and not necessarily a good one. Trayvon would have been 25 years old this year and the all too familiar narrative of Black males dying too young resonates the most during this Black History Month tragedy.