Florida Memorial University Awarded Trayvon Martin Posthumous Degree in Aviation

If Trayvon Martin had received a degree, would it have looked like this?

Five years ago, the name Trayvon Martin was in the headline of every newspaper as the country tried to make sense of his death. A neighborhood watch volunteer named George Zimmerman had seen the 17-year-old walking through his neighborhood and called the police to report Martin was exhibiting suspicious behavior. Before the police could arrive, a fight between Zimmerman and Martin occurred. Martin ended up dead and Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder. Trayvon Martin's photo -- of him wearing a hoodie -- became an iconic symbol of the #BlackLivesMatter organization and even of police brutality, even though no police were involved in his death.  

After the shooting in Florida, President Obama spoke out about it:

"My main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," Obama said. "All of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves."

"Obviously, this is a tragedy. I can only imagine what these parents are going through," Obama said. "All of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how something like this has happened."

Last week, Florida Memorial University announced that it would award Martin a posthumous college degree. The Atlantic has the story:

Five years after his death, Trayvon Martin will receive a posthumous bachelor’s degree in aeronautical science from Florida Memorial University (FMU), the university announced Wednesday on its Facebook page. If Martin were alive today, he would be 22 years old—the same age as many college graduates.

Martin’s degree will specify a concentration in flight education, the university said, “in honor of the steps he took during his young life toward becoming a pilot.” FMU, a historically black college, maintains a designated pilot training center. Martin attended a few aviation classes in high school and “had an obvious love of flying,” an FMU spokeswoman told CNN.

However, some people question whether FMU should have awarded the degree, saying that Martin didn't meet any of the requirements and the school shouldn't continue to promote Martin's victimhood even after Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges.

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Image Credit: Werth Media