Almost two years later and my tears are still full of sadness, confusion and anger. I’m pissed off. Pissed off that another human being was killed; the privilege of having a long fulfilling life stripped away from him at such a young age. Pissed off that a young black man’s life was tragically cut short. Pissed off that it took so long for George Zimmerman to be detained. Pissed off that he was acquitted for murdering an unarmed teen in cold blood.

Today Zimmerman has become not just a household name, but a celebrity of sorts. All for murdering a young kid and claiming self defense on a rainy night in Florida. 

Trayvon Martin would have turned 19 today and ideally, he’d be in his second semester of college with the world at his fingertips. Right now, he most likely would’ve been sitting in biology, mathematics, or any other lecture room, texting lunch plans to a friend on campus. He would have enjoyed a wonderful birthday dinner later, and probably an illegal cocktail because that’s what college kids do. Instead I’m writing this piece in honor of his memory, a boy I was never supposed to know.

See, none of us were ever supposed to know Trayvon, at least not in this capacity. His life should be occurring anonymously like the rest of ours, with the exception of celebrities and those in the spotlight. Instead his bones rest in a grave occupied way too soon.

As I sit here and read countless articles about George Zimmerman, I remember you. With each word that spells out the pure f—ery that is his claim to fame: the celebrity boxing match for charity, his request to fight Kanye West because “he picks on innocent defenseless victims,” his art paintings selling on Ebay, I remember the reason for all of this. YOU.

Today I still cry. Cry for the life of a young boy lost, cry for the family and friends who now have to leave messages of fond memories on your Facebook profile, cry for the injustice that continues to plague our world. But I also cry because I know that your death was not in vain, and regardless of this past summer’s verdict, justice will be served.

Happy Birthday Trayvon,

Love Shantell