SANFORD, Fla. — Tuesday is the anniversary of one of the darkest days in this city’s recent history: the day Trayvon Martin was killed.
Now, a year after the 17-year-old was shot and killed by George Zimmerman on a rainy February night, it is a time for waiting.
Martin’s mother and father are waiting to see if their son’s killer will be convicted of a crime.
Zimmerman is living in hiding, waiting for what his lawyers predict will be his exoneration.
Sanford residents are waiting to see if the Police Department, which faced withering criticism and the ouster of its chief, will stabilize under a new leader and win the confidence of the black community.
And the nation is waiting, too.
“It’s difficult because you don’t know what’s going to happen,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who, weeks after Martin’s death, led a rally that drew an estimated 8,000 people to downtown Sanford.
What happened then — rallies in major cities across the country that drew throngs of people; saturation news coverage; allegations of racism and a police cover-up; speeches on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives — is not happening now.
There are no speeches or marches planned in Sanford on Tuesday.
That’s because Martin’s parents did not want that, according to Turner Clayton Jr., president of the Seminole County, Fla., branch of the NAACP.
But there will be a candlelight vigil, with an expected 150 people or more gathering at Sanford’s Fort Mellon Park at 7:15 p.m., near the time Martin was killed, said organizer Frances Coleman Oliver.
Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, will be in New York City for a “million hoodies” candlelight vigil in Union Square. People will gather for a moment of silence to honor Trayvon Martin and “all victims of senseless gun violence,” according to the family’s law firm.
Students at the University of Central Florida also plan a candlelight vigil at 5 p.m. at the school’s reflecting pond.
Martin’s parents organized celebrations around what would have been their son’s 18th birthday Feb. 5. An antiviolence rally in Sanford, organized by the NAACP and Sanford Police Department, drew 80 people.
One a few days later in Miami-Dade that featured actor-comedian Jamie Foxx drew more than 300.
There will be another noteworthy gathering Tuesday in Sanford: A group of community leaders working to improve community-police relations will sit down with representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service team to go over what to expect from Zimmerman’s “stand your ground” hearing tentatively set for April 22.