Prior to nearly 8 years ago, a hoodie was just a hoodie.
But on February 26, 2012 that all changed. That was the day when Trayvon Martin was tragically killed for doing nothing more than walking down the street, wearing a hoodie and jiggling Skittles in his pocket. And what would have been his 25th birthday today (Feb. 5), reminds of this tragedy that rocked Black America.
As we know, Martin, who was unarmed, was shot to death by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in a gated community in Sandford, Florida. And while many of us believe that Zimmerman murdered the 17-year-old, sadly a jury didn’t.
But be clear: Just because Martin’s family were robbed of justice, that doesn’t mean their son’s tragic death was in vain. Like Mike Brown’s death years later, Trayvon’s death woke up Black America. It also helped morphed the phrase “Black Lives Matter” from beyond a popular and empowering hashtag into a bonafide and influential movement.
A movement that refuses to be quiet about the injustices that Black and Latino people endure by the hands of systematic racism and police brutality. A movement that mobilized African-Americans and our allies from all walks of life, to take to the streets, create real change, and even use that power to shift the political discourse in this country. A movement that inspired Colin Kaepernick and many others to take a knee against white supremacy and racial injustice.
Seven years later, it’s obvious that this movement and its message are desperately needed. From Freddie Gray to Sandra Bland to Philando Castile to Korryn Gaines to Tamir Rice to Rekia Boyd, not a month has gone by since Martin’s death that we haven’t heard news of person of color falling victim to state and police.
It’s clear, especially living in Trump’s America, we have a lot of work and resisting to do, work that sparked from this young man’s tragic death.
So for his birthday, people from all around the world took to Twitter to honor this Trayvon, who we all lost too soon.
In addition to his regular classes, Trayvon attended the George T. Baker Aviation School and studied with Barrington Irving, the first black person to pilot a plane around the world solo.— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) February 5, 2020
Today would have been Trayvon's 25th birthday.#TrayvonMartinhttps://t.co/CGK6abao4q
Remembering #TrayvonMartin today.— Nicki Mayo (@nickimayonews) February 5, 2020
❤️Born: February 5, 1995.
💔Killed: February 26, 2012. #BlackLivesMatter
Trayvon Martin would have been 25 years old today. He dreamed of becoming a pilot one day. Keep his parents @SybrinaFulton and Tracy Martin @BTraymartin9 in your prayers🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/SE9q80zbfE
Will never forget. We slept on the floor of the Florida State Capitol in search for justice then took it all the way to the United Nations.— Nicole Bad & Blerdy (@alamanecer) February 5, 2020
Still 'Stand Your Ground' Law plagues this state #TrayvonMartin https://t.co/nG0DddSjnk
I’m keeping Trayvon Martin and his whole family in my thoughts. Today should have been his 25th birthday.— Mckayla Wilkes (@MeetMckayla) February 5, 2020
We must end the gun violence epidemic in America and continue the fight for racial justice. #TrayvonMartin pic.twitter.com/5acfJmJkWo
#TrayvonMartin should STILL be with us today. George Zimmerman is a predator that was playing community cop. He stalked and killed Trayvon and his dreams.— Nicki Mayo (@nickimayonews) February 5, 2020
Now Zimmerman still gets to live his life after slaughtering this kid. pic.twitter.com/F06qGnt0KC
Rest In Power #TrayvonMartin. He would be 25 today.— Jen Perelman (@JENFL23) February 5, 2020
At the time of his assassination, he was planning to study aviation & become a pilot.
Our fight for #CivilRights & #CriminalJusticeReform continues.#BlackHistoryMonth pic.twitter.com/QqlYJnANVr
Today we honor the life and legacy of what would have been #TrayvonMartin 25th birthday. We will never stop because you were murdered. You live mattered and you should have been protected. We got you. You live on through all of us. #LongLiveTrayvonMartin #IAmTrayvonMartin pic.twitter.com/clESjNuyf7— ILoveMyWifeAlways (@ILoveMyWife0007) February 5, 2020
#TrayvonMartin should be 25 today.— AFROPUNK (@afropunk) February 5, 2020
He earned a posthumous degree in aviation “in honor of the steps he took during his young life toward becoming a pilot.”
His teachers said he majored in cheerfulness and loved to build things.
Lift up his life and legacy, always. pic.twitter.com/Wwvkjg6F36
#TrayvonMartin should be turning 25 today. I remember being a teacher and having to face kids, some who knew him, and somehow find words to make them believe this wasn't their future. But I didn't know.— Odelia Younge (@Odelia_Younge) February 5, 2020
I wish he were still here. I wish so many were still here. pic.twitter.com/ey2UvH6agK
Tray you would have turned 25 today. I remember you always cracking jokes and your happy spirit in class. Your memory will always live in our hearts and our movement for justice. Gone but never forgotten ✊🏽❤️🙏🏽 #trayvonmartin #justicefortrayvon pic.twitter.com/rxVLUXlCqq— Miatooslim (@Miatooslim) February 5, 2020