Note: With my new iPhone, I traveled my old stomping ground to illustrate this story.
When I first heard the details of the Trayvon Martin killing, my mind flashed back to Fern Park, Florida. There I lived in St. John’s Village Apartments.
St. John’s is now called Magnolia Groves.
For those who have been living on a deserted island, 17 year-old Trayvon Martin was shot dead by 28 year-old George Zimmerman. Trayvon Martin was coming from the store. George Zimmerman claimed self-defense for killing an unarmed kid. This happened in a gated community in Sanford. Sanford exists a thirty minute drive from Fern Park, and is my hometown. George Zimmerman is half-Latino and half-white. Trayvon Martin was African-American.
Trayvon Martin being a 17 year-old African-American inspired my flashback. Starting at 17, I liked to walk around at night.
I rarely stayed out late.
Sometimes, I went to the store.
As Trayvon possessed a taste for Skittles, my taste leaned towards Red Hots.
Of course, I had my run-in with cops. I was a young black male, already assumed guilty before I received a fair trial. My most memorable incident happened at this spot, located near the store.
Mind you, Fern Park isn’t the hood. It’s the sub-urbs.
I was nineteen at the time. Wasn’t doing a damned thing but taking a walk.
A cop car pulled up and stopped in front of me. Two white cops stepped out. Both were middle-aged I think. One held a huge flashlight, huge enough to knock me in the head. In a friendly manner, they asked for ID. Then, they called my driver’s license in. I behaved because I kept visioning the flashlight knocking me in the head.
After learning I wasn’t a criminal, the cops soon let me on my merry (and scared) way.
Months later, I just happen to run into a paralegal. After telling him about my incident with the cops, the guy told me my civil rights had been violated.
This is why I flashback when I think about Trayvon Martin. He reminds me of my own teenaged years. As of this writing, I’m forty-three. Thinking about my teen years, I sometimes wonder if what happened to Trayvon Martin could have happened to me.