I walked our oldest son, Parker, part of the way to school yesterday morning. Sometimes I walk with him until I have to run across the street to catch my bus. Sometimes I walk with him all the way to the corner, where he’s practically at school once he crosses the street. This morning I walked him to the corner, and even after he crossed the street, I stood and watched him walk away from me until he topped the hill and disappeared from my field of vision.
I do that every morning. Even when I’m on the bus, I keep my eyes on him, just watching until I can’t anymore. As I watched my son walk away this morning, I thought about Trayvon Martin.
I’ve been thinking about Trayvon Martin from the moment I heard the news of his murder. Yes, murder.
It’s taken me a long time to comb through the details of Trayvon Martin’s murder. (Yes, murder.) Like Essence columnist Demetria L. Lucas, there were several times I had to close my laptop, or just get up and walk away from my computer. At times I felt physically ill. At other times, I felt my heart would break.
So many questions remain unanswered, but what we do know is enough to give me chills.
But before I get into his murder, I want to remember Trayvon Martin’s life before it was brutally shortened. Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old Junior at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School in Miami, FL. According to his English teacher, he was “extremely creative,” and “an A and B student who majored in cheerfulness.” He loved to tinker, and once took apart and repaired a broken scooter. He enjoyed constructing model cars and airplanes, and drew things he wanted to build in the future. His favorite subject was Math.
Trayvon Martin had dreams. According to his uncle, a quadriplegic whom Travyon assisted on outings University of Miami basketball games, he dreamed of becoming a pilot after taking airplane ride a couple of years earlier. Trayvon was taking steps towards that dream. He attended a Miami aviation school part time, and was studying to be an engineer.
Trayvon Martin was, by all reports, a good kid. Besides helping his quadriplegic uncle, he helped his father coached Little League. He was close to his family. According to his teacher, he was “Trayvon was not a violent or dangerous child. He was not known for misbehaving.” He had no record of disciplinary action for violence at school. At the time of his murder, Trayvon was on a five-day suspension from school for tardiness, not for misbehavior or poor conduct. His funeral was attended by 1,000 people, including family, classmates, and community members.
That brings us to the night Trayvon Martin was murdered. Yes, murdered.