I remember growing up and always hearing my parents and their friends talk about one pivotal moment in their lives. They remembered exactly where they were at that point. Exactly who told them the news. Exactly how they felt once it all sunk in. When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, everyone who was alive during that time remembers.
One year ago, today, was our generation’s moment. It was late on a Saturday night. Some of us were out to dinner. Some of us were home with our families. Some of us were still shopping. Some of us were driving in our cars. But, no matter where we were, we all heard and we all will always remember. Shortly after 10PM Eastern Standard Time, after 16 hours of deliberation, a six member, all-female jury acquitted George Zimmerman of murdering 17 year old Trayvon Martin. Silence. Quiet. And then some tears. Rolled down my face as I sat in my living room watching the television with my girlfriend tightly holding my hand. I had sat in the courtroom in Sanford, Florida, for weeks with the family of Trayvon, but I felt it would be easier to watch the verdict from my home. Motionless, I sat for hours.
For millions of Americans around the country and millions of supporters around the world, we were hurt. We were saddened. We were deeply disappointed. And yes we will always remember that moment for the rest of lives, however there are two people whose pain and suffering is unmatched. Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, the parents of the unarmed
teenager, stayed out of court that night, as they had no intention of hearing the verdict read aloud in front of them. Instead, privately, they dealt with the decision to let George Zimmerman roam free in their own way. With courage, honor and grace, Tracy and Sybrina marched on. Nothing, not even watching the killer of their youngest child be found not guilty, would stop them from their mission to heal America.
The wound of George Zimmerman’s acquittal is going to be sewn up. We have no other choice but to mend to our battle scars. Our country reached a breaking point that night, and following in the footsteps of Trayvon Martin’s parents, our generation now sees the blueprint for a New America. Towards a more compassionate, tolerant and generous nation, our path is now clear. With speed-bumps and roadblocks along the way, if the death of their youngest child doesn’t stop Tracy and Sybrina, then nothing is too big for us to overcome. For the past two and a half years, since their son was killed, the two of them have led the fight for justice for their child and so many other children that will change this country forever.
Of course there is much more work to be done and we are only in the middle of our marathon, but the next mile of the race will get easier because of the healing work put in by Tracy and Sybrina. This is the gift they have given us. When we cried, they wiped our tears. When we yelled, they told us we were going to make it. When we felt hopeless, they re-lit the light that shines inside us all. Unselfishly, they gave their entire well-being over to their country, so we could heal with
them. They may never fully understand what they have done for our generation and for our future, as they never asked to be put into this position. But, if we remember one thing from that night one year ago, let us remember that it was Tracy and Sybrina that inspired us to never quit, never let the actions of others slow us down and never stop fighting to perfect these United States of America! For if always keep up our hoodies up for Trayvon, I am convinced that together we will create a much brighter and unified destiny for this beautiful place that we all call home.
Michael Skolnik is the Editor-In-Chief of GlobalGrind.com and the political director to Russell Simmons. He is on the Board of Directors of The Trayvon Martin Foundation. Prior to this, Michael was an award-winning filmmaker. Follow him on twitter @MichaelSkolnik
PHOTO CREDIT: CNN