Trayvon Martin would have turned 19 years old today. High school graduations, college hopes, and visions of a bright life that could have lasted decades were cut short by an overzealous night watchman. The teen’s crime? Walking home from the grocery store with a bag of Skittles, wearing a hoodie.
After a “not guilty” verdict in the George Zimmerman trial stunned a nation this summer, we decided to take our frustrations to truly ask the question, “What now?” We didn’t just let our emotions rest with a simple hashtag. We decided to do something about it.
#YourLifeMatters is an interactive space for young people, especially young Black males, to remember that their value goes beyond the stereotypes placed on their shoulders by society. Over the course of seven months, celebrities have aligned with our mission, sharing empowering messages and a community of positivity. A roster of notables, from expectant mom Ciara and American Ballet Theatre ballerina Misty Copeland, to John Legend and Brandon T. Jackson, used their star power to remind young people to never doubt their self worth and promising futures.
#YourLifeMatters will not end its course, even though media has shifted its attention elsewhere. This year, the YLM Google Hangouts will offer a forum for young people to chat about the issues affecting their world, and arm them with the tools to empower and educate them. The first Google Hangout will take place this spring.
Check out Jadakiss’ inspiring message to the youth below.