One year ago today, Trayvon Martin — an unarmed 17-year-old boy on his way home from 7-11 — was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. The murder trial is scheduled to begin this June. A separate hearing may be held in April to determine whether Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law gives Zimmerman immunity.
While nothing can make up for the events of February 26, 2012, many people have responded to the tragedy with compassion, courage and strength. Here are some of the most inspiring things that have happened over the last year.
1. 192 colleagues of Trayvon Martin’s mother donated 1,362 hours of their vacation time so she could grieve.
“Sybrina Fulton, who has worked at the Miami-Dade County housing authority for 23 years, collected $40,825 worth of donated vacation time, county records show… the Miami-Dade County Commission passed a resolution sponsored by Bruno Barreiro, Barbara Jordan and Jose “Pepe” Diaz to allow county employees to donate vacation time to Fulton…Records show 192 county employees gave Fulton some of their hours” [Miami Herald, 5/12/2012]
2. Sanford, Florida has a new police chief who has pledged to finally address “long-standing racial tensions between the police department and the African-American community.”
The police chief who decided not to charge George Zimmerman was fired. [ABC7, 2/18/2013]
3. Dozens of major companies ended their support for ALEC, the right-wing group who championed “Stand Your Ground” laws.
The companies that ended their support for the American Legislative Exchange Council include “Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft, McDonalds, Wendy’s, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Procter & Gamble, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, Johnson & Johnson, Dell Computers, Best Buy, General Motors and Walgreens.” ALEC was also forced to end it’s “Public Safety and Election Task Force,” which advocated for “Stand Your Ground” laws around the country. At least 39 lawmakers have also ended their association with ALEC.[ThinkProgress, 4/17/2012; ThinkProgress, 8/7/2012; ThinkProgress, 5/18/2012]
4. Thousands of people peacefully gathered in Sanford, Florida to demand justice for Trayvon Martin.
5. A United States Congressman went on the floor of the House of Representatives in a hoodie to show solidarity with Trayvon.
Illionis Rep. Bobby Rush said, “Racial profiling has to stop Mr. Speaker. Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.” After delivering a rousing speech, he was escorted from the floor for violating decorum. [NBC News, 3/28/2012]
6. Legislation to repeal “Stand Your Ground” laws was introduced in four states.
The law was cited by the police as the reason Zimmerman was not arrested for weeks after Martin was killed. [Yahoo, 1/26/2013]
7. Students at Howard University produced this video to highlight the racial profiling of young black men.
“All young black men are not suspicious. We don’t deserve to be harassed, murdered, prosecuted or denied the protections of the justice system all because America believes that we are suspicious… Some of us have already and will eventually change the world. All are not suspicious.”
8. President Obama spoke out about Trayvon Martin in the Rose Garden.
“My main message is to the parents: If I had a son he’d look like Trayvon. I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves.” [3/23/2012]