Trayvon Martin would have celebrated his 21st birthday today

The unarmed black teenager was shot and killed in February 2012

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Friday 05 February 2016 19:59
Trayvon Martin was shot dead as he returned from buying sweets for his brother
Trayvon Martin was shot dead as he returned from buying sweets for his brother

He was the 17-year-old young man killed in his prime, an unarmed black teenager who was shot down by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who thought the youngster looked suspicious.

President Barack Obama famously said that Trayvon Martin could have been his son, had he had one, or else could have himself 35 years ago. Mr Zimmerman was charged with murder over the February 2012 shooting of the teenager, an incident that sparked outcry across the country, and found not guilty.

On Friday, Trayvon Martin would have turned 21, something reflected in the New York Daily News by columnist Shaun King.

17-year-old Trayvon Martin

“Today, Trayvon Martin should be celebrating his 21st birthday. Should is the operative word,” he wrote

“Children should be able to stroll in their neighborhood without being confronted by armed vigilantes. Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law should’ve protected Trayvon, who was frightened by the armed stranger.”

Mr Obama spoke about the teenager at the time of his shooting, and when Mr Zimmerman was cleared by a jury.

“When Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,’ he said.

“And when you think about why, in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognise that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.”

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