Just 21 days after his 17th birthday nine years ago, Trayvon Martin was gunned down by a neighborhood watch volunteer on Feb. 26, 2012. He would have turned 26 today.
Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, posted an emotional tweet Friday wishing her slain son a “happy heavenly birthday.”
“You left this world but NEVER my HEART,” Fulton wrote. “Rest in POWER Trayvon!! Not even the death of my SON/SUN will separate a Mother’s Love!!”
Social media also flooded with tweets paying homage to the unarmed teen who was fatally shot in a Sanford, Fla. neighborhood.
“While Trayvon is no longer with us, his name continues to inspire millions of people in the fight for justice and equality,” posted Grammy Award-winning rapper Common.
“Praying for Trayvon Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin,” tweeted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter, Bernice King.
Former neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman confronted Martin as walked he back to his father’s home from a nearby convenience store when an argument ensued. Zimmerman fatally shot Martin and was later acquitted of charges in the teen’s death under Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law.
Thousands of people poured out into the streets in protest of the jury’s decision to clear Zimmerman in the fatal shooting, which brought life to the Black Lives Matter movement emerged.
BLM grew into a global organization with a mission to “eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes," according to the group's website.
After forming in response to Zimmerman’s acquittal, the movement also protested the more recent police-involved killings of other unarmed Black people including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.