Seven years ago today, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was gunned down by George Zimmerman while walking down a neighborhood street. The killing and subsequent not guilty verdict sparked an entire movement of social justice and Black Lives Matter.
On the evening of February 26, 2012, Martin was walking home after buying some candy and a drink from the store when Zimmerman, who was on the Neighborhood Watch, approached the teen.
An altercation between the two was sparked and Zimmerman eventually pulled out a gun and shot Trayvon dead. Although Zimmerman surrendered to police, he claimed that he fired in self-defense, even though Trayvon was unarmed and much smaller.
After a trial, Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder, sparking protests and demonstrations around the country.
In the wake of Trayvon’s death, people around the country flocked to Florida’s Capitol building in Tallahassee, where a major demonstration took place. Trayvon was the beginning of #BlackLivesMatter and subsequent activism groups that formed for him as well as Michael Brown, Alton Sterling, Sandra Bland, and others.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z are working on a new Trayvon Martin documentary.
Trayvon Martin would have turned 24 on Feb. 5. As a teen, he hoped to one day attend the University of Miami or Florida A&M before pursuing working in the aviation field.
On this anniversary, public figures such as Kamala Harris remember the 17-year-old’s life.