Trayvon Martin's death leaves town divided, struggling with stigma
Beyond Sanford's historic downtown is a town where nearly everyone has a different viewpoint on the Trayvon Martin case.
March 29th, 2012
02:16 PM ET

Trayvon Martin's death leaves town divided, struggling with stigma

Editor's note: The killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has sparked a national dialogue on race; now CNN wants to hear from you. At 8 p.m. ET Thursday at CNN studios in New York, Soledad O'Brien is hosting a town hall meeting called "Beyond Trayvon: Race and Justice in America." The special will air at 8 p.m. ET Friday on CNN.

Join the conversation in a live blog of the broadcast starting at 8 p.m. ET Friday on CNN's In America blog.

By Mallory Simon, CNN

Sanford, Florida (CNN) - Nearly everyone in Sanford agrees on one thing: The death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is a tragedy.
But his death has taken on a whole new meaning here, where media outlets from around the world have descended, to figure out just what happened more than a month ago when neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed Martin.

This once-quiet and quaint town is now the center of a controversy that has put residents in the position of examining just what the racial undertones of the case say about their hometown. And it makes them wonder whether they will forever be known as the a place where an unarmed black kid heading home from the store with Skittles and tea was killed by a Hispanic man claiming self-defense.

For some, the case has become a rallying cry, a chance to air what they believe are years of grievances and cases of injustice between the police, the courts and the black community. For others, it has forced them to defend their town as a place that is not an inherently racist, a place where a young black man cannot be killed without consequence.

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soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Bubba

    Bill Lee .. for President

    May 15, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jasmine Frampton

    I think zemmerman killed trayvon martin because he was black and that he followed him and shot and killed him i don't think there was a struggle between the two as you can clearly hear on the 911 tapes trayvon was screaming for someone to help him so do that sound like self defence to you just check out trayvon's size compared to zimmerman's who over powered who and look at the location where trayvon's body was founded it was dark and there no way that zimmerman's head was repeatedly slamed against the curb when there wasn't one around

    March 31, 2012 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Marc

      George did the right thing. It is exactly what every person should do. That would sure lower the crime rate in this country. Shoot first ask questions later

      April 4, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • LifeCrust

      I think giving this story a racial turn is rather unfortunate.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ted kazinski

    I walked around for 20yrs in my hoodie and sunglasses before the found me. And the cops didn't shoot me.

    March 29, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Eugene

    Why does this always turn racial? Yes he probably was wrongfully shot. I'm only writing this about the reaction not the incident itself. I mean there is gang violence everywhere. If someone walks in the wrong area with the wrong colors they have a good chance of getting shot. But there's no CNN no Sharpton,Jackson or Black Panthers. In my opinion if there was this much publicity on all the violence maybe it would help stop but I guess it's okay as long as it is black on black.

    March 29, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • LifeCrust

      True, giving this story a racial turn is in-fact tragic. Should not have happened this way.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |