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Trayvon Martin to Receive Posthumous Degree


as reported by the Detroit News and various other media sources:


Miami Gardens, Fla. — A university will award Trayvon Martin a posthumous Bachelor of Science Degree in aviation five years after the black teenager was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in a central Florida neighborhood.


An announcement on Florida Memorial University’s official Facebook page says Martin’s parents, Sabrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, will accept the degree during a May 13 commencement ceremony. Fulton graduated from the Miami Gardens university and, along with Tracy Martin, co-founded the Trayvon Martin Foundation.


The university’s statement says it will honor the steps Martin, who was 17 when he died in 2012, took toward becoming a pilot.


George Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self-defense as the teen returned to his father’s home after a trip to a convenience store. A jury acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder in 2013.


For those who don't remember the story, here it is from Wikipedia:


Trayvon Benjamin Martin was a 17-year-old African American from Miami Gardens, Florida, who was fatally shot in Sanford, Florida by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. Martin had gone with his father on a visit to his father's fiancée at her townhouse at The Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford. On the evening of February 26, Martin was walking back alone to the fiancee's house after getting some items at a convenience store. The neighborhood had suffered several robberies that year. Zimmerman, a member of the community watch, saw Martin and reported him to the Sanford Police as suspicious. Moments later, an altercation between the two individuals took place and Zimmerman fatally shot Martin in the chest.


Zimmerman claimed to have been injured in the confrontation and was not charged at the time. The police said there was no evidence to refute his claim of self-defense, and that Florida's stand your ground law prohibited law-enforcement officials from arresting or charging him. After national media focused on the tragedy, Zimmerman was eventually charged and tried in Martin's death. A jury acquitted him of second-degree murder and manslaughter in July 2013.


Following Martin's death, rallies, marches and protests were held across the nation. In March 2012, hundreds of students at his high school held a walkout in support of him. An online petition calling for a full investigation and prosecution of Zimmerman garnered 2.2 million signatures. Also in March, the media coverage surrounding Martin's death became the first story of 2012 to be featured more than the presidential race, which was underway at the time. A national debate about racial profiling and 'stand your ground' laws ensued. The governor of Florida appointed a task force to examine the state's self-defense laws. Martin's life was scrutinized by the media and bloggers. The name Trayvon was tweeted more than two million times in the 30 days following the shooting. More than 1,000 people attended the viewing of his remains the day before his funeral, which was held on March 3, 2012 in Miami, Florida. He was buried in Dade-Memorial Park (North), in Miami. A memorial was dedicated to Martin at the Goldsboro Westside Historical Museum, a black history museum in Sanford in July 2013.


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