Trayvon Martin was born on February 5, 1995. Had he not been viciously killed by a gun-wielding racist on February 26, 2012, he’d be alive and celebrating his 25th birthday.

At the time of his death, Martin was just 17-years-old, the age where many young Black kids are deciding on where they’d want to attend college. But Martin was never granted that opportunity.

As a mother of a 20-year-old son, I couldn’t fathom celebrating my deceased son’s birthday, but it’s something Sybrina Fulton has to do every year. Thankfully, Martin’s legacy lives on in his mother’s work. Fulton has made it her life’s mission to ensure that other families won’t have to endure the pain she’s faced. She’s become a political figure and is currently running for county commissioner in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

On Tuesday, during a speech at Vincennes University, Fulton said, “The reason why I continue to speak is because my son is not here to speak for himself.”

Martin isn’t here to speak for himself because of George Zimmerman, the man who was acquitted in his death. Zimmerman is still a nuisance to society and hasn’t amounted to much in his 25+ years of living

Martin was never given the opportunity to pick the college of his choice, celebrate his 21st birthday, don a graduation cap, or experience any of the other pivotal life moments many who live beyond 25 are given the opportunity to. But as we think about the things he never got to experience, we should reminisce about the 17 years he lived and the love he gave and received from his friends and family.

Trayvon Martin’s life mattered then, and it matters even more now. Martin’s life should be a reminder that we live in a country where so many young Black people won’t live to see 25 because of senseless violence. And coupled with an injustice system, sometimes those who commit these acts of violence are allowed to live their normal lives without punishment.

Trayvon Martin may not be here to celebrate his 25th birthday, but the world should celebrate the life he lived.

To learn more about Trayvon Martin’s life, visit: https://www.trayvonmartinfoundation.org/ to find out how you can become involved in keeping his legacy alive.

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