Trayvon Martin: Killed for Being Black?

trayvon martin in the news

(Originally published on 05.17.2012)

The tragic killing of Trayvon Martin gains national attention as his parents ask the FBI to investigate the handling of his case. How is it possible for a bright, athletic, good-looking 17-year-old to be fatally shot while walking in a gated community, while his killer remains free? It seems it is possible if the teen is black and the gunman is not. This is the sentiment Trayvon Martin’s family and many in the black community share after Martin was senselessly shot and killed in his hometown of Sanford, FL by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain.

On Feb. 26, Zimmerman called 911 to report a "suspicious" black man wearing a hoodie walking in his gated community. Even though police told Zimmerman not to approach Martin, he proceeded anyway. What transpired next isn’t clear, but after an altercation, Martin was fatally shot in the chest. Zimmerman is claiming self-defense, but in eight 911 calls received from different neighbors, Martin can be heard crying for help in the background.

Trayvon Martin was a junior in high school, who walked to the store for a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea.

George Zimmerman is as 28-year-old man with a criminal history of battery, carrying a gun.

Why is Zimmerman still free? Police claim there isn’t enough evidence to charge him, and Martin’s parents have asked the FBI to investigate. Why did it take so long for police to release the 911 tapes? How can Zimmerman claim self-defense when he confronted Martin? And why, in 2012, is being black still considered a reason for suspicion? These are just a few of the questions Martin’s parents and the community are asking. Meanwhile, public outcry grows over racial profiling and reminds many of another innocent teen killed for being black … Emmett Till.

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