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Trayvon Martin’s 22nd Birthday: A Look-back on the Lives of Trayvon, Sandra and Philando

February 5, 2017, would mark the day Trayvon Martin would have turned 22 years old. To commemorate Trayvon and other black figures lost at the hands of injustice and police brutality, it only seems right to give a brief overview of the wondrous lives of these individuals before their passing. Such people like Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and Philando Castile lived ordinary yet beautiful lives. While many see their names as tragedies, it’s important to reflect on the positive qualities of their lives as well.

With Trayvon Martin’s birthday and death occurring in the same month, most will only recollect the later date. Trayvon Benjamin Martin was a good kid. Born in Florida, he attended various public schools including his high school, Dr. Michael M. Krop High school.

Trayvon was not only a great student but a talented athlete. Noted for his love of math and involvement in the school’s English Honors Class, Martin was like most students. He held no criminal record and even had plans in aviation with a dream of becoming a pilot. The beauty of his life can also be seen in his parents and their drive to sculpt him into an experienced and well-rounded individual. They exposed him to new sights and activities such as skiing and horseback riding, making sure he was never limited in opportunities. His story reveals the innocence of the teenager and shocking reality of his case.  Though it is devasting to see a magnificent and potentially-rich life lost, he was not plagued with sadness. Trayvon Martin was an amazing kid and he should always be remembered as such.

“The deaths of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and Philando Castile are undoubtedly tragedies, but that doesn’t mean their entire lives can be reduced down to that one word.”

Sandra Bland’s life was like any other 28-year-old. She was involved in a sorority (Sigma Gamma Rho) and had finally landed her new job at Prarie View A&M University. She was a bold individual and wasn’t afraid to fight for others. Sandra was an active and vocal supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement with her mother saying she was, “sassy, smart and she knew her rights.” Bland stated in a video on police brutality, “What I need you guys to understand is that being a Black Person in America is very hard. If we can show White People that all lives matter, maybe they’ll stop killing our Black brothers.”

Her ‘suicide’ was seen as completely absurd because Sandra was never looked at as a sad or depressed woman. She was overjoyed with her new job and her fresh start and had no plans on letting anything or anyone stop her dreams. Like Trayvon, her path was only filled with great opportunities. Sandra should be remembered for her lively spirit and determination.

Philando Castile’s story accentuated the necessity of the BLM movement. Working as a cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori School in St. Paul, Minnesota, Philando was reported as a “team player who maintained great relationships with staff and students alike and was quick to greet former co-workers with a smile and a hug.

Castile has been consistently described as an amazing man and a law-abiding citizen. Graduating from St. Paul Central High School with straight A’s, ‘Doc’ as his friends would call him, proved the excellence of Black people and how great he really was. Though he didn’t have a squeaky clean record, he maintained zero felony charges. Like Sandra Bland, Philando Castile spoke out often about the injustice of Black People, with him speaking about Alton Sterling’s death which occurred hours before his own.  Philando was an outstanding man who made a worldwide impact on the world before, during, and after his death.

The deaths of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and Philando Castile are undoubtedly tragedies, but that doesn’t mean their entire lives can be reduced down to that one word. They were multifaceted, as everyone’s lives are. They were regular human beings who didn’t deserve to be treated the way they were. Regardless of their criminal history, education or occupation, the beauty and humanity they radiated demonstrate how wonderful each individual was. Their legacy is eternal, as well as the drive and positivity that surrounded them in their lives.

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