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‘A better day is coming.’ Street named for Trayvon Martin unveiled in Miami-Dade

The 17-year-old’s shooting death in 2012 helped launch the Black Lives Matter movement. His parents attended the somber ceremony.
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan, left, presents Trayvon Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, with street signs bearing the name Trayvon Martin Avenue during a public dedication and co-designation ceremony on Thursday. A portion of Northeast 16th Avenue now bears the name Trayvon Martin Avenue.
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan, left, presents Trayvon Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, with street signs bearing the name Trayvon Martin Avenue during a public dedication and co-designation ceremony on Thursday. A portion of Northeast 16th Avenue now bears the name Trayvon Martin Avenue. [ JOSE A. IGLESIAS | Miami Herald ]
Published Nov. 6, 2020
Updated Nov. 6, 2020

A section of Northeast 16th Avenue now bears the name of the teenager whose killing sparked one of the largest movements in American history.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan unveiled Trayvon Martin Avenue Thursday morning, a patch of road that leads to Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High, which Martin attended before being fatally shot in 2012. The ceremony, attended by Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, as well as a host of elected officials, took both a somber and joyous mood on a rather gloomy day.

Trauma has a unifying power that “we often don’t realize the magnitude of,” Tracy Martin said to the crowd.

Trayvon Martin attended high school in Miami-Dade County before he was fatally shot in 2012 by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford. Miami-Dade named Northeast 16th Avenue after him near his former school, Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High.
Trayvon Martin attended high school in Miami-Dade County before he was fatally shot in 2012 by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford. Miami-Dade named Northeast 16th Avenue after him near his former school, Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High. [ Miami Herald ]

The street renaming was the term-limited Jordan’s last official act as county commissioner. Getting this done was particularly important to her — she repeatedly referred to the initiative as an “honor” — and her fellow commissioners agreed: The motion to rename the roadway, which stretches from Ives Dairy Road to Northeast 209th Street, passed unanimously in October.

“His giving his life really gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Jordan, who also gave Martin’s parents replicas of the street sign. “It is critical that we recognize that that would pay tribute to him.”

George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, shot the 17-year-old Martin, who was returning from a convenience store in Sanford while visiting his father. His killing became a national rallying cry that shed light on the criminalization of young Black men. Zimmerman was later acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter on the grounds of self-defense.

Fulton held back tears reflecting on Martin’s untimely death, which she viewed as an awakening of the world to the plight of Black Americans.

“This wasn’t about Trayvon,” she told the audience of about 50 people. “Trayvon was the vessel.”

A sign marking a portion of Northeast 16th Avenue as Trayvon Martin Avenue.
A sign marking a portion of Northeast 16th Avenue as Trayvon Martin Avenue. [ JOSE A. IGLESIAS | Miami Herald ]

Numerous crowd members sported red shirts bearing the slain Martin’s face. Mayor-elect Daniella Levine Cava, outgoing Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and several members of both law enforcement and fire rescue also were in attendance.

Intense thunderstorms twice interrupted the ceremony. The speakers, however, powered through as some of the crowd became soaked. As if on cue, the showers dissipated just before Fulton spoke. In her remarks, she implored the crowd to participate in the fight against injustice, at one point telling onlookers to practice empathy.

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“Don’t wait until something happens to your son, your daughter, your family member in order to get involved,” she said.

Toward the end of her speech, Fulton used an analogy that contextualized not just the ongoing movement towards racial equality but also the day itself:

“Look beyond what’s going on right in front of you because there are better days coming. It continues to rain, but just know a better day is coming.”