Rosa Parks would have been one hundred years old yesterday.  A woman whose small action would change the entire course of America’s history.  With no intention of causing trouble, Rosa Parks was just tired and took a seat in the front of the bus. A Montgomery bus that segregated white passengers from black passengers. She would be arrested for breaking the law, but she will be forever remembered for breaking the chains. As she later recalled, “At the time I was arrested I had no idea it would turn into this. It was just a day like any other day. The only thing that made it significant was that the masses of the people joined in. My only concern was to get home after a hard day’s work.”

Trayvon Martin would have been eighteen years old today. He had lived an ordinary life that in the flash of a gunshot turned into an extraordinary nightmare.  It was just a day like any other day.  A young man whose only concern was getting home to watch a basketball game on television.  The only thing that made it significant was that Trayvon would never make it home.  With a bag of skittles still in the pocket of his hoodie and a can of ice tea lying next to his body, at barely seventeen years old, Trayvon would take his last breath in the small city of Sanford, Florida, the victim of one bullet wound to the chest.  He had no idea it would turn into this.

His mother and father woke up this morning without their son. His brother woke up this morning without his brother. His extended family woke up this morning with no words to write on his birthday card.  His friends woke up this morning to an empty chair in the classroom.  America woke up this morning with a heavy heart.

Since the death of Trayvon Martin, the masses of the people have joined in. Led by the indescribable courage of his mother, father and brother, people from around the world have joined the movement for justice and will light eighteen candles today celebrating the birth of this angel most of us have never met.  Most of us never met Rosa either. Or Martin. Or Malcolm. Or Bobby. Or Jack. We never met Medgar. Or Emmett. Or the four little girls. We know they await us for our arrival in the kingdom of heaven, but have asked that we take our time to get there, as they know that our work is not done. We wipe away the tears, we dust off the dirt, we tighten up our belts, and we carry on. We let those eighteen candles burn not just on top of a cake, but inside of our hearts, for Trayvon deserves that we fight for an America that is safe for all of our precious children.

At the time of his death, he had no idea it would turn into this. But, my dear brother, in your memory, please know that we will not stop until the day we meet again.

~Michael Skolnik

“Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.” ~Rosa Parks

Michael Skolnik is the Editor-In-Chief of and the political director to Russell Simmons. Prior to this, Michael was an award-winning filmmaker. Follow him on twitter @MichaelSkolnik 

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