George Zimmerman Acquittal 10 Years Later: 5 Things That Have Happened Since Then

Trayvon Martin’s family emerged from the trauma to use their powerful platform for advocacy.

Thursday (July 13) marks 10 years since a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman on all charges in the killing of unarmed Black teenager Trayvon Martin – igniting national protests and discussions about racism in the criminal justice system.

On Feb. 26, 2012, Martin, 17, was walking back to his father’s home in Sanford, Fla., from a nearby convenience store carrying Skittles and a soft drink. Zimmermann, a self-appointed neighborhood watchman, observed the teen, who was wearing a hoodie, and called the police because he thought, without reason, that Martin looked suspicious.

RELATED: Trayvon Martin’s Mother Sybrina Fulton Reflects On Son’s Death 10 Years Later

The 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman, then 28, that the cops were on their way and to stop following Martin. But he ignored the dispatcher’s directions, getting out of his car and confronting the unarmed teen.

At some point, a physical altercation happened between the two and Zimmerman fatally shot Martin, claiming self-defense.

In the aftermath, Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, emerged from the trauma of losing their son to become social justice activists.

Here are five things that the people closest to Martin have done since the acquittal.

  • Sybrina Fulton enters politics

    Sybrina Fulton entered the 2020 race for a seat on the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners but lost by less than 1 percent to then Mayor Oliver Gilbert, People reported.

    “At first, I didn’t want to be the voice for Trayvon after he died but I decided I have no choice. Now, I’m called to act, and called to serve,” Fulton said in a social media video announcing her candidacy, according to CNN. “It became clear to me there’s an opportunity to turn our family’s tragedy into something positive for many other families.”

  • Tracy Martin becomes anti-gun violence advocate

    Trayvon Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, used his platform to reach lawmakers in Congress. Spectrum News reported that Tracy Martin was part of a panel discussion on May 22 hosted by Florida’s Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson and the Caucus on the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys to discuss solutions to preventing gun violence.

    "I don't think enough progress has been made, simply because, you know, day-in, day-out, we have numerous shootings," Martin said, according to Spectrum. "We have mass shootings; we have shootings in malls, shootings in schools, shootings in churches."

    At the federal level, he’s advocating for a stricter gun purchase screening process, restricting access to guns for young people, and limiting the number of guns people can purchase at one time.

  • Jahvaris Fulton completes internship and graduates college

    Martin’s older brother, Jahvaris Fulton, graduated in 2014 from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, according to Black Enterprise. Prior to earning his college degree, Fulton landed an internship in the Miami Gardens office of Rep. Frederica Wilson.

  • Rest in Power book and docu-series

    Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton shared their story in a book published in 2017, titled Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin, in which they pay tribute to their son and help others experiencing the same trauma. The book was developed into a six-episode unscripted series that recounts the life and legacy of Trayvon Martin and was executive produced by Jay-Z.

  • Circle of Mothers

    Fulton created the Circle of Mothers to empower and heal moms who lost children to senseless gun violence. The mothers held an event in May to raise awareness for the organization as it reaches out to expand the sisterhood.

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.