How Long Before We Forget About Trayvon Martin?

Being politically active against injustice should not be a trending topic but a lifetime mission

High-school junior Trayvon Martin was shot and killed on Feb. 26 (Image: File)

As much as I can appreciate the power of social media and its ability to inform and rally people across the globe around a common cause—as was the case for the uprising in Egypt and the Occupy Wall Street movement—I have my doubts about its lasting impact. As my colleague Alfred Edmond, Jr. pointed out several months ago when discussing “Why Twitter Couldn’t Save Troy Davis”, we have a generation of passive activists. At 35, I may be too young to recall the sit-ins and marches of the Civil Rights movement, but the rabble-rousers of that era pushed the boundaries of their civil liberties not buttons on a Smartphone or computer. Many of today’s bandwagon revolutionists have little real action in their activism. They simply spot a new trend and sign an online petition here and send an angry tweet there, but the revolution will not be RT. Way too often people feel their passive activism is enough to make a difference. While the sentiment of a tweet is appreciated, a cheerleader can’t put points on the board. Only those who get off the sidelines and into the game can.

While it’s easy for some to move on to the “next big news story,” others don’t have that luxury. Take Nicole Paultre Bell, for example. Her fiancé Sean Bell was shot and killed by undercover cops in a hail of 50 shots on the morning before their wedding back in 2006. The incident drew national headlines and prompted countless protests against excessive police force, but as time went on and the case ended in 2008 with the acquittal of all three accused officers, the general public eventually moved on to the “next big news story of the moment.” Paultre Bell, however, remained diligent in her quest for justice. Earlier this month two of the involved officers, as well as their on-scene supervisor, were forced to resign, while Det. Gescard Isnora, who fired the first shot at Bell and his friends, was officially relieved of duty.

Six years, that’s how long it took for the Bell family to get to this point in their fight for justice. How many of us truly have the patience, willpower and dedication to commit themselves to reach the day where there’s justice for Trayvon Martin? In the event that George Zimmerman is never charged for the death of Trayvon or is charged but found innocent; how many of us can truly say that we’d continue to devote time and energy to his case when the calendar turns to 2018? If the part-time movements behind martyrs of the moment like Troy Davis and Ramarley Graham are any indication then I’d wager not many.

If you disagree with my pessimist view on how the Trayvon incident will play out, then I deplore you to prove me wrong. If you aren’t doing your part to rally behind just causes, then start. If you are, then continue doing so not just for the moment but long after the front-page headlines disappear. For now, I’ll just continue to wait for the day where there’s justice for Trayvon Martin or the day you all forget about the 17-year-old and move on to the next big news story of the moment.

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  • Chad

    I felt guilt just wash over me as I read this. Its not that’d I’d willingly forget, this case spoke to me as being in similar situations of being in ‘suspicious’ in white neighbourhoods; but also made me realize that outside of tweets & conversation what have, or will, I do? At the same time, I do believe bringing social consciousness IS doing something, albeit little, but isn’t that more than nothing? Where is the line between doing nothing and something significant drawn. I’d like to be in the latter, but how?

    The generation before mine had rallies, sit-ins, marches and such, but even they chose their battles. The article refers to the murder weeks before Trayvon. But if we march/rally/speak/protest every event, does it carry the same weight? Or does it start to fall on deaf ears. I guess I’m wondering how does one or many do this effectively while getting the maximum effect/result each time?

    • Zashura

      Ever heard of the saying “crawl before you walk” often our emotions and egos prompt us to just “run for it.” After running for a while, & the hype dies down you eventually get tired & forget what you were running for. We must sit,learn,identify,strategize, then educate. Learn the history of related situations, identify the common issue, establish goals (short-term, long-term), develop strategies(march/rally/protest), educate the masses on the common theory on why issue is reoccuring(in meetings and expos)& present strategy for solution & why it should be effective. Then after you have ppl sign a petition, call for others to come out, then run. We can do this with patience,humility, focus & desire. We can’t do it to just be on the news. All the work real work is off camera in a small office-space somewhere.

      • cj


    • Allen

      I “implore” you to consider the possibility that the media, and anyone with a keyboard and a Twitter account, can jump to conclusions and be read all over the internet. What I find “deplorable” is the slant that some infuse into these unfortunate situations. Why does this childhood photo keep coming up? Who really knows what happened there? I suggest these “passive activists” have shortened attention spans because their causes are so spun with drama and other agendas that they can’t stand up to eroding tide of rational thoughts and actual facts.

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  • thomas

    …Black History Moment, Trayvon Martin…NOW!

  • tatyana

    i love you an rest an peas

  • Omar pryor

    I dont think trayvon martin ran after this man I think this guy ran after trayvon because this guy call the dispatcher and they saiid do.t get out of your car but he went any way so that tell you this guy started the the problem not trayvon and if this guy obey the law trayvon would be alive today so this guy was wrong and this guy is 250 pounds and trayvon is 140 its a big differents pounding this guys head on the councit I do.t think so iit dont add up yes I dont think we well foreget what happen that day because a lot of people are mad it could of happen to their child and this guy is guilty and he knows it and the martins family needs justice.

  • Omar pryor

    This guy disobey the law he dont havea right to go after trayvon if he disobey the law what makes you think hes going to tell the truth and he had a problem before withe the police if you disobey the law and if you do that you can pick a fight and if you can do that you can kill some one so I dont belive this guy for one minute ony calling it in to the dispacthler we have a big problem with other people that look up to no good I dont by that.

  • Omar pryor

    This guy is 250 and trayvon is 140 pounds think about that im 228 im not going to let some kid or grown man to pin me dawn I dont care how this man says the story unless this kid was like bruce lee then he can do these things but trayvon is not like what I said we have to put the puzzle together this kid trayvon was comeing from the the store with skittles and ice tea its not fear some one can get away with murder because comeing from the store eating candy I can take know bodys life because I think hes up to no good or what ever day is going on your taking a kids life thats aserious sin if you take someones life .

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  • timmi


    • Omar pryor

      You dont know what your talking about how about if that was your child or your friend nephew or cousin how would you feel im sure you would not be talking like this about im glad hes dead or hes a nigga who ever said that have some growing up to do like some people said early where not in the 50s and people have to think before they speak and use common sence to because it can get them in trouble in the long run.

    • Bet

      that is a stupid thing to say. why so much hate. we are all on this planet togethe, lets don’t fight each other, there are bigger things coming to fight

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  • mmm


  • shawn

    i have already forgot about him, never cared to begin with it was self defense. he wont get a jail sentence like you want. he will be a free man from this point on. and all the hate spewing from your communities is beyond stupid. people saying kill him he is out on bail. kill the judge etc. you all are worse than the person your condemning… congrats on setting your race back 50 years… when will you learn?

  • Omar pryor

    Geroge might be free you right but their is someone see every thing but tgis man made judge will let him go because theirs no justice in this world. But I can tell you and you can bank on this God will deal with geroge when judgement day come and God is a justice God perfect is his activity for all his ways are justice. And God dont like see people takeing other people lives.lives are precious to God and what geroge did trayvon hes going to answer toGod on this count on it bud and everybody do think he does not have to answer for his actions think again he might get away with it with man judge but not with God point blank period.

  • Omar pryor

    I not judgeing geroge I see things and I hear to when you take a kids life or a mans life its not good in God eyes and I would not want to be in geroge shoes when judgement come or anybody else who take people life every body is going to have to answer for their actions if they dont do the right thing in God eyes and that include me to

  • SoCoNes12

    There have been over 350 cop related cases where someone has been shot by officers since 2008 and you want to write an article mentioning the most popular stories?! The main cop involved in sodomizing Louima was sentenced to 30 years and Louima received 5.8 mil after legal fees and continues to give back to his communities and attend marches/protests against police brutality with Sharpton. Sean Bell’s wife is still seeking justice and the last I heard, she had wrote a letter to Trayvon’s parents but those cops in the shooting and murder of Sean have received the “surprising” not guilty verdicts. Diallo’s parents received $3 mil from a civil suit against the city but what good is that when the cops who killed their unarmed son is free? I still don’t understand how one stupid cop that stumbled and shot his gun one time could cause the other idiots to start shooing at this man and no one realized that the body filled with bullets was not shooting at them.

    And all the black people that either joke or laugh at the expense of Rodney King now realize the seriousness of black men either being beaten severely or shot and killed by cops who get off. Sure some of the cops are doing time and he had received money but this hasn’t ended! And mentioning Emmett Till right now didn’t make any sense since people had compared his murder to Trayvon’s which has very few similarities.. For Troy Davis to not only do all those years in prison with stating he was innocent and the same witnesses that claimed he had killed the off duty cop to have recanted their stories INCLUDING the man that said he was the real shooter to go ignored and still get executed is complete bull! Blame can partly go on Pres. Clinton putting in a law before his time ended that made it extremely difficulty for a verdict to get overturned or at least investigated..but that’s to be expected with human beings try to be God and make these laws without even including asterisks to allow room for certain situations to get investigated!

    Why not talk about Bo Morrison, who, like Trayvon was shot and killed but he was allegedly walking towards a man, granted he was in the indoor porch of the man’s property, but the man told his wife to call 911 as he was putting bullets in his gun and that man will not be charged because of the Stand Your Ground law! Hell, there’s a young black men shot by two security officers in front of his home who said he was “walking aggressively” towards them so they shot him in front of his mother and sister shortly after Trayvon’s murder.

    What has separated Trayvon’s case from most is the fact that the same man who shot and killed him was not arrested and charged right after the murder! How often do you hear of a civilian shooting another civilian and calling it “self-defense” and not be charged and tried in a trial to prove his innocence? Not to mention the fact that Zimmerman and his family have used excuses and claims of not being racist with that fraud of a “black” man coming to his defense and now the claims that Trayvon gave Zimmerman black eyes, a broken nose and banged his head in the ground! As time continues to pass by, we continue to hear these crazy stories of what allegedly happened that night from the 911 call where Trayvon is walking suspiciously and Zimmerman continues to pursue him after he is advised that the cops are on their way and do NOT need him to do that to the 911 call from an ear witness where screams for help are being heard in the background and Zimmerman’s family is claiming it is the very same man possessing a gun is crying out for help to Trayvon being shot and saying, “okay, you got it” supposedly to Zimmerman which makes no damn sense yet we can only go by what evidence is actually being released to the public and what allegedly happened through people that weren’t at the scene and that bull of an apology from Zimmerman who claimed that he did not know how young Trayvon was and had believed Trayvon had in fact been closer to his age even though in the 911 call he clearly stated when describing Trayvon that he looked 19! I hope all these lies that have been told to the public by Zimmerman & Co. comes back to bite him where it hurts and not only does he get found guilty for 2nd degree murder AND this supposed FBI investigation into a hate crime so they fry his sorry a**!!

    • cj

      So ask yourself this ???? who is the TRUE guilty party for this young man’s death????

      • sliderman

        Sometimes, when you repeatedly bash someone’s head into the pavement, that someone will fight back with whatever they have…

    • Mrk Snyder

      Who cares one less welfare check

  • chell

    black on black crime is an epidemic and has reached a critical point. the black community needs to address this before anymore young black men / children die.

  • Paul Udulutch

    Why just focus on him what about the 30plus blacks murdered in Chicago the same weekend do you know THIER names???

    • Mrk Snyder

      They are just killing each other ……kinda just doing the tax paying citizens a service


    i read somewhere that the shooter was on lots of head meds thats why their sealing records

  • Bet

    a white cop was beaten by a black male almost to death, why hasn’t president of this country made a statemet , he did about the Flordia case

  • Bet

    white , black , native american, mexican, what is the pecking order, here , are we gonna always fight, we are all human , respect each other and lets move on , our families are enough to fight , why fight the man on the street, get things right with your families then all will fall in place. Got to know what battles are yours to fight

  • sliderman

    You ask for “justice for Trayvon Martin”.  How about simply asking for “justice”?

    The tone of your article makes it clear that the only action you would consider “justice” is the conviction of George Zimmerman, since you have already tried and convicted him in your own mind.

    The only witnesses corroborate Mr. Zimmerman’s version of events – that Mr. Martin was on top of him beating his head into the pavement.  That Mr. Martin was ultimately shot and killed is tragic, yes.  But there are consequences to every action, and life’s lessons are often learned at a high price.


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