Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Trayvon Martin could have been my brother

I can only hope that the family of Trayvon Martin and the social media activists who have raised awareness about his killing get the justice that they are fighting for. And that my brothers might be just a bit more safe the next time they’re on their way to the store.

By Nakia Hill / March 22, 2012

In this undated photo provided by the Martin family, Trayvon Martin holds an unidentified baby. Martin, 17, was killed by a neighborhood watchman following an altercation in Sanford, Fla., as he walked from a convenience store in February. The watchman, George Zimmerman, has not been arrested. On March 22, Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee announced he was temporarily stepping down.

Martin Family/AP/File



Trayvon Martin could have been one of my younger brothers. I think about their caramel and mocha skin tones, wardrobes full of hoodies, and frequent trips to the corner stores. One of them was once stopped by the police, frisked, and told he fit the description of someone dangerous. My brother is not a criminal.

Skip to next paragraph

I hurt every time I log on to Twitter or Facebook and see hundreds of familiar and unfamiliar faces dressed in hoodies in support of Trayvon Martin.

This killing in Sanford, Fla., was tragic. A 17-year-old African American, on his way home from the store armed with nothing more than a bag of Skittles candy and iced tea, shot by a neighborhood watch captain named George Zimmerman, who followed Trayvon even after police told him not to.

This young man wasn’t given a fighting chance in life, but after his death, he has millions of people fighting for him. Along with his parents, lawyers, and civil rights leaders, the social media community is gathering and asking piercing questions.

I’ve read questions like these:

Why would a grown man carrying a firearm feel threatened by a 140-pound teenager?

Why did George Zimmerman shoot Trayvon when he was only carrying candy and a drink?

Is Trayvon’s killing a form of modern-day lynching?

Why did Trayvon’s family have to file a “missing person” report to find out he was in a morgue?

Why is Trayvon’s killer free? Where’s the justice?

Social media has provided a digital meetinghouse for millions to join globally. It has given concerned citizens a space to voice their opinions about the injustices in their countries and to lobby others to support a cause that wouldn’t have received such attention without the masses behind it.

I recently read a tweet that stated, “If people feel like ‘Twitter Activism’ doesn’t matter, ask Egypt, Tunisia, and Iran.”


Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer


Doing Good


What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!