Below is an open letter written by medical student Cory Shy that went viral in the aftermath of the senseless killing of unarmed 17-year old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012 in Sanford, Florida. As we approach the anniversary of this terrible event, it is our pleasure to share it here for persons who might find themselves sympathizing with George Zimmerman and in-need of a confrontation with one’s prejudice. Likewise, this reinforces to black youth that you are who God says you are, and your future is as bright as you allow it to be. Thank you, Mr. Shy (soon to be Dr. Shy) for sharing yourself with us.
I am Trayvon Martin..
The picture on the left was taken when I was 17 years old, had just graduated from high school, and really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Based on my appearance in this picture, you probably would have labeled me a thug or a trouble maker. I only graduated in the top 50% of my class and I took my ACT 4 times. A promising future in college doesn’t look too well at this point does it?
But at age 17 (Trayvon’s age when murdered), I didn’t realize how much I would be judged and stereotyped for the clothes I wore and my physical appearance.
Two months after that picture on the left was taken, I entered college and quickly realized that I wasn’t pushing myself to be the best I can be. I hardly studied in high school but as as freshman in college I began to study daily. As a matter of fact, I did so well that I was able to participate in a summer medical internship at Yale University. I then went on to graduate from Prairie View A&M University Magna Cum Laude and in two weeks I will be attending Texas A&M Health Science College of Medicine to become a medical doctor.
The picture on the right is where I am now just four years later at the age of 21. The reason I am sharing this with you is because I COULD HAVE BEEN TRAYVON MARTIN!!! The defense team could have gone onto the internet and found pictures of me that were similar to Trayvon’s pictures and characterized me as a thug. They would have then portrayed me as the aggressor and as a result it lead to my death. If that would have happened, then I would not have had the opportunity to reach my true calling, which is a medical doctor. My White Coat ceremony is in four days and it marks the next step in my journey. I could have been laying in a casket with a black suit, instead of of being in a white coat trying to save lives.
When I was 17, no one would have imagined that I would be doing so well and on my way to medical school. Who is to say that could not have happened to Trayvon Martin if he was still alive? He could have been the next doctor, lawyer, engineer, teacher, etc.
My prayers go out to his family and friends.
Please share my story so people can be more conscious of their racial profiling. Everyone has the potential, as long as they are alive, to achieve greatness and make a positive impact on this world.
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