Trayvon Martin, an African-American teen, was shot and killed by a neighborhood watchman in 2012. His killer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted of all charges on the basis of self-defense, even though Martin was unarmed. The case sparked a fire of protests and ignited the Black Lives Matter movement, highlighting racial injustices still present in the United States today.
The impact of the Zimmerman trial is far and widespread. Cristal Young, a Reference and Instruction Librarian for Leavey Library with subject matter expertise in African-American and Ethnic Studies, talked about the influence of the case. In an interview with Annenberg Media, she said, "it has raised awareness of the way people view others," although policies have "not necessarily [changed] for the better."
Today, however, people are remembering Martin and the impact his death continues to have instead of the murder trial. In a text interview, USC student Ellie Burger stated, "We as a society owe so much to him as an individual… it is vital we honor and respect a man who was in many ways a founding father of this movement." Many admirable aspects of Martin's life were ignored during the trial. For example, when he was nine years old, Martin saved his father's life by pulling him out of their burning apartment building, according to NPR.
Young explained how Martin continues to inspire people today. "His death was not in vain," she said, "the struggle continues, but it is a struggle that people keep fighting for nonetheless."