Trayvon Martin would have turned 19 years old today. The last year he would be a teenager, most likely in the middle of his Freshman year in college, studying hard for his mid-term exams. Because of the bullet that shot out of George Zimmerman’s gun, his life was blown out before he could blow out the candles on his birthday cake. His family still grieves. His friends still cry. And his supporters are still angered and disappointed by the verdict that was read on a late Saturday night in July of the previous year.
What inspired a generation to carry the torch of justice for Trayvon Martin was the dignity and humility of his parents, Sybrina and Tracy, and his brother, Jahvaris, from the moment their loved one was murdered to the moment they woke up this morning on his would-be 19th birthday. Never have they shown the desire for revenge or hatred as they carried the burden of a nation’s pain for the past two years. They have never stopped walking with grace.
This weekend, in Miami, they will honor the life of their son and brother with the second annual Trayvon Martin Peace Walk and Dinner. As a proud board member of the Trayvon Martin Foundation, I join them in their continuing efforts to define Trayvon’s legacy, one that is focused on making sure what happened to them doesn’t happen to any other parent.
In this spirit, we should ignore the antics of Mr. Zimmerman and focus on the work ahead, like the murder trial of Michael Dunn for killing Jordan Davis. Making Trayvon Martin’s KILLER rich or famous is NOT the way to pay respect to him or his family. The circus that Mr. Zimmerman has created since he was found not guilty is a distraction to our greater mission. While he sells paintings, allegedly points guns at his ex-wife and girlfriend, and now wants to fight a celebrity in a boxing ring, we are still losing kids to the bullets of guns every single day.
I do not support ANY celebrity fighting George Zimmerman, to do so makes a mockery of the death of Trayvon and the important legacy his family created. I know that there are a lot of people out there who might want to punch dude in the face, but that will not bring Trayvon back and definitely will not change the verdict of the trial.
DMX. I remember spending time with you and Russell back in 2003 and having a long conversation about the trials and tribulations of your life. I respect you and I respect your struggles. You have given us tremendous gifts with your artistry and your music, and you might feel those lucrative days are behind you. And although there might be a pay-day for your involvement in a “boxing match” with Mr. Zimmerman, I am sure it is not enough to bring Trayvon back to his family. With all due respect, DMX, please DO NOT Fight George Zimmerman! No single punch will light Trayvon’s birthday candles or bring a smile to his mother and father’s faces.
I have never spoken ill of Mr. Zimmerman, as I do not know the man nor do I have the desire to ever meet him. But I do know that if he didn’t leave his car that Sunday evening in Sanford, Florida and wasn’t carrying a gun, Trayvon would have woken up this morning to dozens of text messages, facebook posts, voicemails, tweets and kisses from his mom and dad wishing him a happy 19th birthday. Damn, this never had to happen…
Michael Skolnik is the Editor-In-Chief of GlobalGrind.com and the political director to Russell Simmons. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Trayvon Martin Foundation. Previously, Michael was an award-winning filmmaker. Follow him on twitter @MichaelSkolnik