He is the boy whose murder shocked the world. They are the parents whose grief and loss launched a movement.
In February of 2012, on an average evening in a small town in central Florida, seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot to death while walking home from the store with a bag of candy and a can of juice in his pockets. The head of the neighbourhood watch got out of the car against the advice of the authorities he had contacted regarding a suspicious person and followed the young man. This encounter ended with the man drawing his gun and taking Trayvon’s life.
In the days that followed, Trayvon’s parents tried to get answers from the police but were ignored. They couldn’t understand how the man that murdered their son was allowed to walk free. Their grief overtook them but they knew they had to fight for their son and as time went on the world joined them in calling for justice for Trayvon and all victims of racism and gun violence.
Rest In Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin, by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, gives readers an understanding of the young man that Trayvon was, what happened on the night of his death, and how his parents have coped with their grief.
I applaud and thank Sybrina and Tracy for writing this book. On every page you can feel the strength it took them to tell their story. At a time when all one would want to do was to quietly grieve their son, they were thrust into the spotlight and became the public faces of a movement that gained millions of allies across the world. What they do in this book is extraordinary.
The book is written in chapters that alternate between Sybrina and Tracy. It runs chronologically, discussing their lives before Trayvon was born, his childhood, and his years in high school. The book spends time going over the shooting, sharing how the parents weren’t notified until almost a day later about their sons death even though it occurred steps from his home. The book discusses the investigation and trial, giving readers new information and a new understanding of the flaws that exist in the justice system.
It is hard to believe that it has been five years since Trayvon’s death or that he would now be 22 years old. Like so many others I was shook by this murder and I absolutely could not understand how the justice system worked in this case. I learned so much more from this book than I did from the media coverage at the time and it all still baffles my mind. Reading this book, my heart broke all over again for Sybrina and Tracy and all the anger I felt toward the killer and the justice system bubbled up again. This is a powerful book and a must-read. We can’t pretend that something like this can’t occur again and we must honour Trayvon’s memory by fighting to stop it from happening.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley. The opinions expressed above are my own.