Remembering Trayvon Martin and Young People Who Changed Our World

Trayvon Martin

As I watch the peaceful demonstration in San Francisco on this evening of the not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, I wonder if Trayvon Martin’s death can inspire change in our world.  Self-defense or not, it doesn’t change the fact that a young man died because someone else had a gun.  Gun control is a hot topic, especially after the school shootings, movie theater deaths and other violent acts of this year.   As time passes, will Trayvon Martin be remembered as the young boy whose death forced us to examine the violence in our society, profiling, race relations and more?  I remember other children who changed our world…

Adam Walsh
I remember Adam Walsh.  The disappearance and subsequent death of Adam Walsh changed our world.  We became acutely aware that strangers can be dangerous. I was a young girl and I remember my parents being more concerned about my whereabouts.   Violent crime took center stage as Adam’s father John Walsh became an advocate for victims of violent crimes.  Thanks to the Walsh’s determination that their son not die in vain, many cases were solved and we all became more aware.
Ryan White
I remember Ryan White.  The illness and bravery of Ryan White changed our world.  HIV and AIDS were considered a gay man’s disease before Ryan White and his family fought for his right to go to school.  We learned that HIV/AIDS was a disease that attacked young and old, gay and straight.  Thanks to Ryan White and his mother, HIV/AIDS began to receive the publicity and funds that would eventually save so many people.

Alexandra Scott
I remember Alexandra Scott.  While suffering from the pediatric cancer neuroblastoma, she decided to open a lemonade stand to raise money for children with cancer.  Alex shined a bright light on the young people who fight for their lives every day.  Alex’s idea grew into Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and not only provided publicity and funding but gave us a reminder that the young can change the world.  Alex gave a voice to children with cancer and to young people who want to help others.  She did so much before she died at only 8 years old.  Thanks to Alex Scott, over $ 60 million dollars has been raised to find a cure for cancer.

I would like to add the name Trayvon Martin to this list and the list of other children who made us think, reflect and enact change.  No child should die before their time.  No young person should die in vain.  When the dust settles, I pray that we come together to determine the lessons to be learned and that we start on a new path to ensure that our children are safer.

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