In a statement released Monday (July 9), the city explained their decision to relocate the memorial which includes photos of the 17-year-old, stuffed animals, flowers and American flags. “In an effort to protect and preserve the remaining Trayvon Martin curbside memorial items, and after communicating with representatives of Trayvon Martin’s family, Sanford City Manager, Norton Bonaparte announced that the curbside memorial site items placed outside the entrance of the Retreat at Twin Lakes Subdivision in Sanford have been taken to the Sanford Museum as of 2:30 pm today by city staff. All the items retrieved have been carefully handled and inventoried.” read the statement.
While the city claims to that the relocation was a collective effort between all parties , Natalie Jackson, an attorney for the Martin family, denied that they were involved in the decision-making process.
Furthermore, Francis Oliver, who runs the a Black history museum in neighborhood of Goldsboro, revealed that she was asked by the city to place the memorial at her location. Oliver also noted that it was the home owner’s association at the Retreat at Twin Lakes who wanted the memorial removed from the start. “They have been calling the city, they have been calling lawyers and different people,” she told The Grio. Given the fact that Martin died in a diverse neighborhood in Sanford, Oliver sought it best not to confine the items to a Black museum. “I said [Trayvon Martin] didn’t die on 13th Street. He didn’t die in the black community.”
Oliver went on to argue that the racial tensions surrounding the death of the teen, moving the items would only further the divide. “Why are they putting [the memorial] in the Sanford Museum? Number one, they don’t have any other blacks in the Sanford museum, and we got memorials all over the city of Sanford. Why do they want to move this one? The whites in Sanford say [Martin was] a thug and he’s guilty. Why would you want to put a thug in your museum? It just doesn’t add up. They didn’t leave a cross, they didn’t leave nothing. The main objective was to move it and it’s moved. And the city of Sanford is the one that moved it.”
As community members work to preserve the memory of the high school student, his accused killer—George Zimmerman—has been released from custody after posting $1 million bond. He has been transported to a safe house which is being protected by a security team.
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