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Trayvon Martin would have been 18 today.

Let those words sink in and try to imagine the grief of a parent having to bury a child, especially at the hands of a reckless coward who didn’t follow police orders. Sybrina Fulton (pictured below right) and Tracy Martin (pictured below left), Trayvon’s mother and father respectively, will not have the chance to hug their boy as he reaches this pinnacle of youth melding into manhood.

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George Zimmerman snatched that away from them on February 26th of last year, just a mere few weeks after his 17th birthday. The small town of Sanford in Florida is now forever etched in the minds of many nationwide — all due to a confrontation that didn’t have to turn fatal.

Every photo shown of Trayvon Martin grips the heart. He was a handsome, baby-faced boy who hadn’t even grown a hint of a mustache yet. Photos of him and his father together showcase the connection the two shared. The most iconic photo, however, is  of Travyon in his hoodie (pictured above). It was that image that became synonymous with the case, and soon after, a movement. Looking at the photo, you don’t see a violent criminal. You see nothing more than a boy with his entire life ahead of him.

Tragically, Trayvon’s precious life stopped there, his face frozen with all the wayward hopes and dreams and petty pursuits of teenagers the world over. Each time that photo is shown, it should serve as a reminder that Trayvon Martin didn’t have to die when he still had everything in the world to live for.

Rest in peace, young brother Trayvon, as we seek justice in your name.

Watch Trayvon supporters celebrate his birthday here:

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Trayvon Martin Would Have Been 18 Today  was originally published on