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The impact of the Trayvon Martin case, 10 years on

Protests in Sanford after the death of teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012. Photo by Matthew Peddie, WMFE
Protesters at Fort Mellon Park, Sanford FL, 2012

This month marks ten years since 17-year old Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. 

The unarmed Black teenager’s death sparked huge protests and the case brought national and international attention to Sanford and shone a spotlight on Florida’s gun laws, the police and legal system. 

Next week the WMFE News team will take a closer look at the case, talking with people who knew Trayvon, Sanford city officials and community leaders. We’ll discuss the connections between this case and the Black Lives Matter movement, and explore how Sanford has changed. 

WMFE News Director LaToya Dennis and All Things Considered host Nicole Darden Creston join Intersection to talk about the importance of the case and Trayvon Martin's legacy.

"I think there is a narrative that was put out there 10 years ago of who this young man was. He was 17 when he was killed, as we all know. And what we really want to answer is who he was. And beyond that, how far have we actually come?" says Dennis.

"None of what's happening today is happening in a vacuum," adds Dennis.

"And so if we can look back, and we can learn those lessons from 10 years ago, if we can learn those lessons from 50 years ago, right, maybe we'll be better as a society for it."

As a reporter covering the case at the time, Creston says it was noteworthy how quickly attention around the case grew until there was a national movement calling for an arrest and charges to be brought against Zimmerman.

"This was one of the early cases as far as using social media was concerned," says Creston.

"So I think it was kind of a lesson for people who are still advocates to this day, that more voices, it was just power in numbers to get people to listen, to get the authorities to listen to their concerns."