In September 2013, Ebony, a monthly magazine targeting African-American readers since 1945, published four different covers with the heading, “We Are Trayvon.” The covers were published a little over a year after the death of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old black boy who was shot by his white neighbor in 2012 in Sanford, Florida. Martin was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt when he was killed, and all of the Ebony covers featured African American boys and men (including Spike Lee and his son, Dwayne Wade and his son, Boris Kodjoe and his son, and Martin’s family) in this attire. Many people were outraged after Martin’s death because the man who shot Trayvon was acquitted of his manslaughter and second-degree murder charges due to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. This law states that defendants in crimes can use force (including firearms) without retreating if they feel there is a threat to themselves or others. After the shooting, many people felt that Martin was killed because of his race.
Why do Ebony‘s editors choose to use the phrase “we are Trayvon”? Why do they choose to publish multiple covers with different African American figures?
Why are they all the male figures wearing grey hooded sweatshirts? Why do only the children don the hoods?
The cover also leads with the text: “save our sons.” How does this imperative statement make Trayvon Martin’s case exemplary and universal?
Why and how does this cover relate to a social and political movement? What movement is the cover asking readers to join?