Trayvon Martin Awarded Degree After Death

It’s been five years since the name Trayvon Martin jumped into the national spotlight. Back in 2012, Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, who was a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Florida.

Zimmerman spotted the then-17-year-old returning from a convenience store, and he called the cops to report what he saw as ‘suspicious’ behavior on the part of Martin. He became involved in an altercation with Martin, who was fatally shot in the chest.

Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder, but he was ultimately acquitted of the charges the following year.

As the Atlantic shares, Martin was honored by Florida Memorial University (FMU), a historically black college that his mother attended. Martin’s mother, Sabrina Fulton, and his father, Tracy Martin, accepted a degree on their son’s behalf.

“The University will confer upon TRAYVON MARTIN a posthumous degree in Aeronautical Science with a concentration in Flight Education in honor of his love for planes and the steps he took during his young life toward becoming a pilot, including his connection to Barrington Irving (a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Florida Memorial University); in 2007 he was the youngest person and only African American ever to fly solo around the world,” a statement from FMU read in part.

Martin’s death and the ensuing controversial trial was one of the inspirations behind the Black Lives Matter movement, which has made numerous headlines since its formation. Advocates view the movement as a strong step towards protecting the rights of black people, while critics point out that the group adds to and creates divisiveness by engaging in contentious behavior.

“Fulton and Martin are social justice activists who co-founded The Trayvon Martin Foundation at Florida Memorial University. In their book, 'Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin: A Parents’ Story of Love, Injustice, and the Birth of a Movement' (Penguin Random House), Fulton and Martin address Trayvon’s aspirations of becoming a pilot and the camp sessions he took with Mr. Irving,” the statement adds.

The Trayvon Martin Foundation, co-founded by Martin’s parents, which describes itself as “a social justice organization committed to ending senseless gun violence, strengthening families through holistic support, S.T.E.M. education for women and minorities, and mentoring,” has its headquarters on the FMU campus.

The parents have done their best to keep their son’s memory alive while affirming that his death was not in vain.

“Of special significance is awarding posthumously the Bachelor of Science Degree in Aviation to Trayvon Martin. Sybrina, our alum, epitomizes strength and dignity as she uplifts other victims of violence while effecting change for a more equal and just society,” read a statement from Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, president of Florida Memorial University.

Fulton reacted to the news with a post on social media to thank FMU for the gesture that obviously means the world to her.

“Thank You #FMU #TrayvonMartin will receive his Bachelors in Aviation ITNOJ Thank You Dr. Artis, the Board & staff #MySchoolFMU #MySun/Son,” she posted.

Source: The Atlantic, Florida Memorial University/Facebook
Photo: YouTube, Diversity Inc, Twitter

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