Trayvon Martin would have celebrated his 18th birthday Tuesday.
It’s the first of two difficult dates for the teenager’s parents in February. The second comes Feb. 26, the one-year anniversary of Martin’s fatal encounter with George Zimmerman, which sparked outcry across the globe.
Prosecutors say Zimmerman profiled, pursued and killed the Miami Gardens, Fla., 17-year-old. Zimmerman says he fired in self-defense after the teen attacked him.
“For his family, it’s tough when it comes to his birthday and how to deal with it,” said Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the teen’s family. “As well as coming up in a couple of weeks … the anniversary of the tragedy.”
The teen’s birthday coincides with the latest hearing in the second-degree murder case against Zimmerman. Attorneys for the state and defense will be at the Seminole County (Fla.) Courthouse on Tuesday morning.
For Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, Crump said, the timing is a jarring reminder of their loss.
“(Tracy Martin) tries to keep his composure and tries to have faith in the system, but it’s very difficult for them to not become … overcome with emotion,” Crump said. “(Trayvon’s birthday is) supposed to be a day of celebration, but for them it’s not a day of celebration.”
Instead, the family has announced a series of events through the foundation they formed in their son’s name.
The first of those events, announced by the Justice for Trayvon Martin Foundation, will take place before Tuesday’s hearing. Community leaders and college students will say a prayer for the teen’s family and sing “Happy Birthday” in front of the Seminole County Courthouse, Crump said.
Later Tuesday, the Goldsboro Welcome Center on Historic Goldsboro Boulevard in Sanford, Fla., will host an event called “Banding Together for Peace Against Gun Violence.”