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Conflict & Tragedy

One year since shooting death, Trayvon Martin's parents prepare for trial

On Feb. 26, 2012, an unarmed Trayvon Martin, 17, was gunned down by George Zimmerman, 28, as he walked through a gated community in Sanford, Fla. He was returning to the residence of his father’s girlfriend after visiting the local 7-Eleven for some Skittles and a can of Arizona Iced Tea -- one year ago to be exact. A neighborhood volunteer watchman, Zimmerman, who is now charged with second-degree murder, is out on a second bail, awaiting his June 10 trial.

However, Zimmerman may never stand trial for there is a Stand Your Ground hearing April 27, where the judge gets to decide if the defendant warrants protection under that statute. If the court rules that Zimmerman killed Martin because he feared for his life and was indeed standing his ground, he gets to walk free and there will be no murder trial.

While Zimmerman has now been charged, it took four months to get to that point after communities across Sanford and beyond erupted in mass protests. A stampede of rallies, marches and hoodies donned in solidarity even by politicians on the House and local Assembly floors — all echoed a cry for justice. The accusations of injustice and racial profiling blanketed Twitter and Facebook, with celebrities joining “the cause.”

Most of those cries and marches have since ceased, the hoodies been put away, celebrities back to looking for publicity other ways, the media and bloggers have moved on to the latest “bleed lead” story -- but Martin's family is still patiently waiting for what they call "justice for Trayvon." Though one celebrity, Russell Simmons along with Martin's parents, are holding a "million hoodies candle light vigil" in New York City's South Plaza Union Square on Tuesday, 6 p.m.

After three judges, stunts, soliciting money online, then subsequently lying under oath about said large sums of money amassed, bail revoked, perjury charges which included his wife, weird television interviews and requests -- Zimmerman will face a jury who will decide his guilt or innocence. Are Trayvon’s mom Sybrina Fulton and dad Tracey Martin prepared for the outcome, whatever that may be?

In an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan on Monday night, both parents agreed they were ready for the trial they had waited long, patiently but painfully for, with Fulton adding: "We (want to) make sure that no other parents have to go through what we have gone through in the last year."

Since Martin’s death, other gun violence stories have dominated the news, namely the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary massacre and the shooting death of 15-year-old honor student Hadiya Pendleton in Chicago, who was gunned down just days after performing at President Barack Obama’s inauguration. The shooting took place a mile from his Chicago residence -- bringing the violence to his doorstep, literally and figuratively. The death toll from gun violence is so high in that city that the president was forced to visit last Friday.

Martin’s fatal shooting ignited protests about racial injustice but did not spur gun control debates. Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law came under fire instead. Now those gun control debates that were raging from the Senate to pundits on the local evening talk shows after Sandy Hook have also subsided, leaving one to think we are decidedly predictable in matters that matter.

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