Faces of Protest for Trayvon Martin

Andrew Kaufman—PSG Wire
Andrew Kaufman—PSG Wire
A young man sports a mohawk in honor of Trayvon Martin at the Bayside Amphitheater rally, Miami, FL, April 1, 2012

After Trayvon Martin was shot to death in Sanford, Florida on Feb. 26, police told his parents that no arrests would be made, even though Trayvon was a minor and his shooter had already confessed. Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law, which allows shooters to invoke self-defense rights, seemed to protect George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who shot Trayvon, from all sides.

“I had no doubt in my mind what the Sanford Police Department was telling me – it didn’t sit well with me at all.  Not knowing – our son,” Tracy Martin told TIME in an interview last month. “I knew at that point that my mission, personal mission, had begun. And that mission was to seek justice for my lost son.”

Hundreds of thousands of Americans soon joined this mission. Protests crisscrossed the country like wildfire, from Miami to Detroit to Los Angeles to New York to Atlanta. Churches bused participants across state lines. Entire families came, pushing infants in strollers, waving homemade signs, marching from city halls to civic centers to police stations and refusing to be overlooked. Hoodies defied Florida’s 80-degree heat. Skittles became a symbol of justice. Boycotts flared up against companies with ties to the Stand Your Ground law. And word spread that Trayvon resembled another Martin, whose mountaintop address often played in the background as crowds chanted, “No justice, no peace.”

Forty-five days and 2.2 million petition-signatures later, on April 11, Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder in Trayvon’s death. His trial arraignment date is set for May 29.

More photos: Trayvon Martin’s death sparks national outrage, mourning

In the midst of this emotional time for so many, photojournalist Andrew Kaufman traveled across Florida to document the groundswell of protests in Miami and Sanford. During that time he began to compile the work in journals with cut up contact sheets and handwritten text. “I had to make these pictures,” says Kaufman. “Seeing the anger and frustration in the news, I felt compelled to see and talk to the people who were taking their feelings to the streets.”

Kaufman was in Sanford when special prosecutor Angela Corey filed second-degree murder charges against Zimmerman. Many people he encountered told him they felt relieved that an arrest had finally been made. But, as Travyon’s family lawyers also pointed out after the arrest announcement, there can be no real celebration. “The worst part of this project,” Kaufman says, “is knowing that Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, won’t have her son any more.”

Andrew Kaufman is a Miami based photographer who has been a contributor to TIME since 1998. You can see more of his scrap books on his blog here.

Elizabeth Dias is a writer/reporter in TIME’s Washington bureau. Follow her on Twitter @elizabethjdias

Related Topics: , , , , , ,

Latest Posts

The henna is a pre-nuptial cerimony celebrated in Moroccan or Yemenite families where the soon-to-be bride is dressed-up as a Queen with flowers and jewels and she is inivited to dance with her girl friends to say good-bye to celibacy and life as a single young girl. During the dance cerimony, the Kallah, the bride-to-be's hands and feet are painted with henne`, the red pouder from India. This welcomes fertility and happinesses within the marriage. Meah Shearim, Jerusalem, Israel. July 2012.

Finding Faith and Beauty in the Lives of Orthodox Jewish Women

For four years, Italian photographer Federica Valabrega has photographed the everyday lives of Orthodox Jewish women around the world

Read More
A suspected migrant runs back to Miguel Aleman, Mexico after being pursued by agents near Roma, Texas. Oct. 8, 2014.

Photojournalism Daily: Nov. 26, 2014

Stephen Waddell

Off the Radar: Jeff Wall Puts the Spotlight on Stephen Waddell

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 19,376 other followers