The verdict in the Trayvon Martin trial caused a chain reaction, creating mixed emotions, which led to the country uniting for a common purpose. George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the teenager’s death, and EBONY magazine responded by taking a national stand, devoting its September issue to Martin.
Vanessa Abron, EBONY’s media and communications manager told The Gramblinite in an email that the issue regarding the ordeal of young Black men in the nation was evident to the magazine, and editors recognized their readers’ concerns quickly.
On Aug. 6, the 68-year-old magazine released four separate covers featuring celebrity fathers with their sons, including Martin’s parents and his brother, Jahvaris Fulton. Spike Lee with his son, Jackson; Boris Kodjoe with his son, Nicolas; and Dwyane Wade with his sons Zaire and Zion, all wearing grey hoodies.
“These covers were created to serve as iconic imagery that our community can grasp on to and help continue this much needed conversation about race issues in America and the lives of all African-American children,” Abron said.
Wanting to convey the clear message -“we are all Trayvon”-Abron recalls magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Amy Barnett deliberating on the front covers in finding celebrity fathers with sons, who had a personal and political interest in the issue at hand.
Sitting down in his barbershop in Grambling, Richard Gallot didn’t have much to say about the Martin verdict.
“I didn’t think it was fair from the little that I heard,” said Gallot, who wasn’t interested in watching the trial in July.
At 72 years old, Gallot said he has seen some changes from Martin Luther King Jr.’s time to now, however, it still isn’t enough.
Serving as a father figure to his five brothers and two sisters, alumnus Andrew Smith II takes a personal obligation to ensure his younger siblings are aware of anything that they can face in the world.
“From growing up as a fatherless African-American child in Southern California then coming to the South,” said Smith, 23, “I tell you my experience was close to many others, just think of the Trayvon Martins, Emmitt Till’s and Rodney King’s of our current time…WE AREN’T FAR BEHIND.”
Currently residing in Dallas, Smith believes everyone has the option to constantly teach, motivate and enlighten the community about Black history.
“We must understand that our struggles, trials and tribulations are all ingredients of our testimony, so its important to remember.”
As a mother to a Black child, EBONY’s editor-in-chief admits to being affected by “the tragedy of Trayvon Martin.” Writing a letter to the magazine’s devoted readers, Barnett shares her emotional reaction on the verdict and how she approached her curious son Max.
Inside, EBONY goes into depth with concerns on racial bias, solutions for these concerns and how to heal by moving forward. The magazine also explores the “Stand Your Ground Laws”, how celebrity fathers talk about racism to their sons and young students describe how they feel about being Black men in America.
“We want people to take the Trayvon movement to the next level,” said Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton, who studied mass communication at Grambling State University. “We want them to continue to sign petitions. We want their voices to be heard (on this issue).”