Trayvon Martin's family to receive the pilot's degree the slain teen dreamed of earning

Trayvon Martin's family to receive the pilot's degree the slain teen dreamed of earning
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen killed in 2012 by a vigilante and whose memory sparked a youth-led racial justice movement, once dreamed of becoming a pilot.

Florida Memorial University, a historically black college in Miami Gardens, Florida, where Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon's mother, received her bachelor's in English, intends to make that deferred dream a reality. The university's aviation school will posthumously confer Trayvon with a pilot's degree during its commencement exercises on May 13, the college's president announced.

"Of special significance is awarding posthumously the Bachelor of Science Degree in Aviation to Trayvon Martin," Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, president of Florida Memorial University, said in a press release posted to Facebook on Wednesday. "Sybrina, our alum, epitomizes strength and dignity as she uplifts other victims of violence while effecting change for a more equal and just society."

Trayvon Martin is pictured at an aviation camp.
Source: 
Sybrina Fulton

Fulton was excited about the announcement. "It's now 20 years [after my own graduation] and now my son #TrayvonMartin will receive his Bachelors in Aviation, something he loved," Fulton wrote in a note of thanks to the university on Wednesday.

George Zimmerman, the self-appointed neighborhood watchman acquitted of murder in Martin's death in 2013, had maligned the teen's character in TV interviews. Some media outlets also participated in demonizing Travyon — they found unflattering social media posts, reported on his school suspension and riffed on racial stereotypes that black men and boys contend with, whether alive or dead.

Trayvon loved airplanes, his mother has said. He enjoyed horseback riding. The 17-year-old high school senior was preparing to apply to college. And, like many other teen boys, he also liked getting the latest sneakers and flirting with girls on the phone.

The university's decision to award Trayvon the aviation degree is perhaps the best reminder of what was actually lost in his tragic death — Trayvon's ability to self-determine his future and realize his dreams.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Aaron Morrison

Aaron is a Senior Staff Writer for The Movement at Mic. He covers the intersection of race, justice, politics, diversity and civil rights. He has previously written for IB TImes, Miami Herald, The Bergen Record of New Jersey and the Associated Press. Send tips to aaron@mic.com.

MORE FROM

People are sharing this video of John McCain defending Obama against scared white people in 2008

The video is meant to celebrate McCain's decency. But what really happened is more troubling.

GOP Senator defends hijab-wearing opponent from anti-Muslim abuse

Police are now escorting the Muslim Senate candidate to public events in response to the online abuse and hate mail.

Cults have a long history of exploiting black women

Black women have been exploited by cultic relationships for years. But this fact is often overlooked.

Anti-Muslim hate crimes spiked 91% within first half of 2017, new report says

2017 is on track to become one of the worst years for anti-Muslim hate crimes, according to a new report.

Prosecutor decides not to try Ray Tensing for third time in Sam DuBose's death

Twice already, jurors have not been able to agree whether Ray Tensing was guilty of murdering Sam DuBose.

It’s 2017 and companies are still describing products as “n*gger-brown”

Walmart's website was selling a third-party product with the descriptor, and people were outraged.

People are sharing this video of John McCain defending Obama against scared white people in 2008

The video is meant to celebrate McCain's decency. But what really happened is more troubling.

GOP Senator defends hijab-wearing opponent from anti-Muslim abuse

Police are now escorting the Muslim Senate candidate to public events in response to the online abuse and hate mail.

Cults have a long history of exploiting black women

Black women have been exploited by cultic relationships for years. But this fact is often overlooked.

Anti-Muslim hate crimes spiked 91% within first half of 2017, new report says

2017 is on track to become one of the worst years for anti-Muslim hate crimes, according to a new report.

Prosecutor decides not to try Ray Tensing for third time in Sam DuBose's death

Twice already, jurors have not been able to agree whether Ray Tensing was guilty of murdering Sam DuBose.

It’s 2017 and companies are still describing products as “n*gger-brown”

Walmart's website was selling a third-party product with the descriptor, and people were outraged.