What started as a small story in Sanford, Florida (my hometown) rapidly grew on the Internet and became a nationwide topic. In Febuary of 2012, George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in what he says, was self defense. I remember listening to the local news cover it the next morning, and not thinking much into it. Sanford doesn’t have the best reputation, and the story didn’t surprise me.
According to the Miami Herald, “Among the first to publicize the story was nationally syndicated radio host Michael Baisden, who sent a message to his 65,000 Twitter followers and 585,000 Facebook fans: “Unarmed 17-year-old boy shot by neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, FL outside of Orlando.”
Once the Internet caught wind of the story, the situation was played out and fueled on by social media. Imagine my surprise to be in California the summer of 2012 and watching my little hometown, Sanford, dominate headlines across the country.
It never slowed down. Over the course of the past three weeks of trial, Instagram was flooded with users posting pictures of them in hoodies or with skittles and ice tea, with the hashtag #blackout or #justicefortrayvon to represent Martin.
The case came to a close on Saturday night with a not guilty verdict. Martin’s parents were not present in the courtroom for the announcement and took to Twitter for their response seconds following it:
God blessed Me & Sybrina with Tray and even in his death I know my baby proud of the FIGHT we along with all of you put up for him GOD BLESS
— Tracy Martin (@BTraymartin9) July 14, 2013
The reaction to the verdict took over social media, with Trayvon’s name dominating the hashtags, along with #manslaughter, #florida, and #sanford trending on Twitter. Facebook newsfeeds were also flooded with anyone and everyone’s opinion on the matter.
Did you voice your opinion on the verdict on social media?