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Trayvon Martin case: One year later

Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin

By Cynthia E. Griffin
Special to the NNPA from Our Weekly

Feb. 26 will mark one year since then-17-year-old Travyon Martin was gunned down by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch coordinator in a gated community of Sanford, Fla.

Martin was visiting family in the area and was walking back from the store when, despite requests by local police not to do so, Zimmerman began following Martin because he appeared “suspicious.”

The two ended up in a physical confrontation, and the unarmed Martin was shot in the chest and killed.

Recently, Martin’s family and activists such as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, along with celebrities Jamie Foxx and Cedric the Entertainer, held a rally and remembrance dinner in Miami on what would have been the teen’s 18th birthday.

“We just want to let people know,” said Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton, “the community, the children, to know that they have a right to walk in peace. They have a right to walk without anybody following them. They have a right to walk without anybody causing any harm to them or killing them.”

Zimmerman says he shot Martin in self-defense and is attempting to use Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law” to justify his actions.

Initially, Sanford police refused to arrest Zimmerman, but after nationwide protests, that changed, and now the neighborhood watch coordinator is set for trial in June. Additionally, he must undergo “Stand Your Ground” hearing by April 26.

Martin’s family has set up the Trayvon Martin Foundation, which seeks to address the Stand Your Ground laws.

“We want to make sure that we keep Stand Your Ground revisions or repeals,” said Fulton. “We want to keep that on the forefront so that they know that you can’t pursue anyone and then claim you were standing your ground.”

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