How Trayvon Martin's Death Re - Ignited Social Justice Movements in the 21st Century
By Alexis Alex
On February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin was murdered. As we remember Trayvon Martin on this day, we should also reflect on the impact his death has had on activism for our generation. Trayvon Martin's death at the hands of vigilante violence seemingly sparked the beginning of the flagrant attacks on Black Lives that has caused America to confront our racist past and present. Before Martin's death, there were conversations about America being a "post racial" society, but this tragedy opened the eyes of many Americans that our country still has race issues. On one side, people mourned for the loss of Martin's life and called for Zimmerman's indictment and on the other hand, many people supported Zimmerman for defending himself against a "thug". Once George Zimmerman was acquitted of second degree murder charges in July 2013, protests broke out around the country in disbelief and frustration over the blatant disrespect for the loss of Trayvon Martin's life. President Obama memorialized Martin, the "hoodies up" movement took over social media, and three activists -- Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors -- created the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, which became a battle cry turned into a global urgency to fight for Black lives. Martin's death brought the killings of unarmed Black men to the attention of mainstream media during a time when many people thought the fight for racial equality was over.
It seems as if Martin's death caused an outbreak of unarmed black people being killed by police officers or vigilantes arising in the media. The killings of Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, LaQuan McDonald, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Philando Castile, and Alton Sterling and many more have all made national headlines over the course of recent years that has sparked national protests across the country and propelled the Black Lives Matter movement to the forefront. Martin's death was the catalyst for activism in the 21st century, and now this renewed energy for activism lives on through our generation. In addition to Black Lives Matter, numerous social movements are now emerging in response to the most openly racist, sexist, anti-LGBTQIA, and classists Presidential administration this country has ever seen (hey Trump…). Travyon Martin's death has a tragically positive position in our country's legacy as the turning point for modern day activism. Although Trayvon martin is no longer with us, his legacy lives on through our ongoing battle for justice.