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10 years later: How Trayvon Martin's death changed the country

Trayvon Martin was 17 years old when he died on February 26, 2012.
Neighborhood Watch Death Rally
Posted at 8:10 AM, Feb 24, 2022

Saturday will mark 10 years since Trayvon Martin died at the hands of a stranger.

Martin was just 17 years old when he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida.

The teen was visiting his father in a gated community at the time.

Walking on the way back from the store, he was eyed by Zimmerman, a member of the community’s neighborhood watch.

The initial police report said Zimmerman called authorities to report a suspicious person, a guy who, he said, “looks like he’s up to no good.”

When Zimmerman said he was following the man, a dispatcher said, “We don’t need you to do that.”

But armed with a gun, Zimmerman got out of his car.

In the confrontation that followed, Zimmerman told authorities, Martin attacked him, forcing him to use his gun to save himself.

Shortly after Martin’s death, there were questions about whether he was killed simply for being Black.

One month later, rallies and peaceful protests began across the country.

More than one year after the teen’s death, Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.

According to the Pew Research Center, the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag first appeared in 2013, after Zimmerman was acquitted.

The verdict also led to more protests around the U.S. and during that same year, the Black Lives Matter Network was formed.

It declared its mission to “eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”

The Trayvon Martin Foundation was later established in 2014 by Martin’s parents.

The organization was created to bring awareness to senseless gun violence and to find solutions for young people who have been victims of violence.