Nearly six years after his passing at the age of 17, Martin was recognized by Hov at the Trayvon Martin Peace Walk & Peace Talk in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Shawn Carter stood beside Trayvon’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, while praising their efforts. “It’s a beautiful thing that Sybrina and Tracy are doing with their strength,” he said.
“Thank you all for being here. It’s very important, the support that you guys are showing, and the strength that Sybrina, Tracy, and the family are showing.”
Jay went on to talk about the importance of keeping Martin’s legacy alive. “We want to make sure we stand in support and we never forget, and Trayvon serves as a beacon of light to all the people out here, so you guys will never have to go through the pain and the hurt that these guys went through,” he added.
“His name will sit alongside some of the greats whom lost their life to push our culture forward, the Martin Luther Kings, the Gandhis. That’s the intention that we set, that his name serves as a beacon of light and hope, and push us in a better direction.”
In 2012, Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman saw Martin, who was walking to his father’s home from a convenience store, carrying iced tea and candy, and called 911 to report a “suspicious person.”
He was advised not to follow Martin but reportedly disregarded that and confronted the unarmed teenager anyway. He said that he shot Martin in self-defense following a scuffle, but no direct witnesses were on the scene. Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder and was later found not guilty.
But the case helped spark a movement against injustice, as JAY-Z rhymed about during a “Stream of Consciousness” freestyle in 2015: “You know what I’m worth, I ain’t your slave, right / You know I ain’t shucking and jivin’ and high fivin’ /
You know this ain’t back in the days, right / But I can’t tell by the way they killed Freddie Gray right / Shot down Mike Brown, like the way they did Tray right?”
This isn’t the first time JAY-Z has shown his support for Martin. In 2013, he joined a “Justice for Trayvon” rally. Last year, it was reported that Hov was making an upcoming film and documentary series based on Martin’s life and his impact.