It’s been nearly three years since a neighborhood watch volunteer fatally shot a Florida teenager walking home after picking up a bag of Skittles and an Arizona canned drink from a convenience store.
And on Feb. 5, 2015, that teenager would have celebrated a birthday. His name is Trayvon Martin. And as the date of his death at the hands of George Zimmerman approaches for the third time, we invoke his name to remember that his life matters.
On this day, we examine 20 numbers that represent the alarming rates at which our children are being gunned down by vigilante-types and police, shed light on the gun laws that have changed minimally since his 17th birthday, and expose the system that aided in Zimmerman’s acquittal in July 2013.
And amid what is arguably the largest movement for black liberation in decades, these numbers show just how state violence, systemic racism, and language and framing have aided in the deaths of Trayvon and other persons of color in the past few years. His life mattered then, and it still matters today.
26: The number of children or teenagers that died under Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws. [ThinkProgress]
46: The number of days it took to arrest George Zimmerman in Trayvon’s shooting.
At least 4: The number of times George Zimmerman has been accused of violence or arrested since the fatal shooting of Trayvon. Just months after his acquittal, Zimmerman was accused of smashing his estranged wife’s iPad during an argument. He was also arrested on charges of aggravated assault, battery, and criminal mischief after his then-girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, said he pointed a gun at her face during an argument. In September of last year, a driver reported that Zimmerman threatened to kill him during a road rage incident. And in January 2015, he was arrested and accused of aggravated assault after allegedly throwing a bottle at his girlfriend. He will not be charged in the domestic incident. He has also been pulled over three times for traffic violations.
0: The number of times Zimmerman has been successfully charged or convicted of any of the incidents listed above.
3: The number of black women who created the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the days following Zimmerman’s acquittal. Creators Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi created the rallying call “for Black people after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder and the killer, George Zimmerman, was not held accountable for the crime he committed.” According to Garza, BLM is “an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.” In recent months, we’ve seen a resurgence of the call to combat injustice witnessed in the killings of Eric Garner, Michael Brown Jr., Tamir Rice, Tanisha Anderson, Jessica Hernandez, and more. Read more here…[BlackLivesMatter]
28: The number of hours between the death of a black woman, man, or child in the United States at the hands of vigilantes or police.
9: The number of months between Trayvon’s death and 17-year-old Jordan Davis’ shooting death at the hands of Michael Dunn. Dunn was convicted of murder in 2014. Both teenagers were in Florida at the time of their deaths.
1: The number of shots it took to take Trayvon’s life.
17-19: The age range of most teenagers of color killed by law enforcement or vigilante enforcement.
16: The number of teenagers of all races killed by police since Michael Brown, Jr. was fatally shot by Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson.
0: The number of days Darren Wilson spent in jail for killing Michael Brown Jr.
3 1/2 minutes: The amount of time between the moment Jordan Davis and three friends pulled up to a gas station to buy gum and the moment Michael Dunn fired bullets at the unarmed boys, killing Jordan.
10: The number of bullets fired at the four boys as they fled. During his trial, Dunn maintained he “feared for his life.” [FloridaTimesUnion]
11: The number of times Eric Garner, a Staten Island grandfather, told police officers he couldn’t breathe when they placed him in an illegal chokehold. Garner died as a result.
12: The age of Tamir Rice, a child shot dead by Cleveland police for carrying a toy gun.
1.2 seconds: The amount of time between the moment police arrived on scene and the moment they fatally shot Tamir Rice.
5: Black men/boys are five times more likely to be killed by a gun than young white males. [CDC]
4.5: Young African-Americans are killed by cops 4.5 times more often than people of other races and ages. [CJCJ]
37: The small percentage of white people who said the shooting of Michael Brown raised important issues about race. [PewResearch]
60: The percentage of white people who said race received more attention in the George Zimmerman case than it deserved. [PewResearch]
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty