When They Call You a Terrorist

by

Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele

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Trayvon Martin’s Killer Character Analysis

Trayvon Martin’s killer is George Zimmerman, the white-presenting Latinx man who shot and killed17-year-old Trayvon while Trayvon was walking home to his gated community in Florida. Patrisse does not mention George Zimmerman by name in the book, only referring to him as Trayvon’s killer. Zimmerman’s acquittal of all charges in July 2013 was the impetus for Patrisse, Alicia, and Opal to start the Black Lives Matter movement. They believe that the ruling of not-guilty in this case proves that Black lives do not matter in the U.S.

Trayvon Martin’s Killer Quotes in When They Call You a Terrorist

The When They Call You a Terrorist quotes below are all either spoken by Trayvon Martin’s Killer or refer to Trayvon Martin’s Killer . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Black Lives Matter Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the St. Martin's Griffin edition of When They Call You a Terrorist published in 2020.
Chapter 11 Quotes

And then my friend Alicia writes a Facebook post. Alicia, who I’d known for seven years at this point, who I’d met at a political gathering in Rhode Island where at the end of the day our goal was to dance until we couldn’t dance anymore […] she writes these words in the wake of the acquittal:

btw stop saying that we are not surprised. that’s a damn shame in itself. I continue to be surprised at how little Black lives matter. And I will continue that. stop giving up on black life. black people, I will NEVER give up on us. NEVER.

And then I respond. I wrote back with a hashtag:

#BlackLivesMatter

Related Symbols: Trayvon Martin
Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

And then I ask the people there on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills to please just stop for a moment, to hold space for Trayvon Martin, to hold space for his parents left in grief and an unspeakable pain. And when I do that it seems like the police are going to pounce; they move in closer and closer and I am scared. But I ask again for a moment of remembrance for Trayvon, and as far as I can tell, every single person within reach of my voice, and all of them white as far as I can see, puts down their champagne glass and their silver fork and stops checking their phone or having their conversation and then every last one of them bows their head.

Related Characters: Patrisse Khan-Cullors (speaker), Trayvon Martin’s Killer
Related Symbols: Trayvon Martin
Page Number: 201
Explanation and Analysis:
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Trayvon Martin’s Killer Character Timeline in When They Call You a Terrorist

The timeline below shows where the character Trayvon Martin’s Killer appears in When They Call You a Terrorist. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Introduction: We Are Stardust
Black Lives Matter Theme Icon
Prisons and Policing Theme Icon
Trayvon Martin’s killer, on the other hand, was not imprisoned. And when Patrisse and others started the Black... (full context)
Chapter 11: Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter Theme Icon
Prisons and Policing Theme Icon
External Forces vs. Personal Responsibility Theme Icon
On July 13, 2013—the day of Trayvon’s killer’s trial—Patrisse drives 11 hours with Mark Anthony and a few of their friends to visit... (full context)
Black Lives Matter Theme Icon
Prisons and Policing Theme Icon
...with Richie in the prison visiting room and talk about what will happen to Trayvon’s killer. They talk optimistically about it—surely he will be punished. He willfully ignored a 911 operator’s... (full context)
Black Lives Matter Theme Icon
Prisons and Policing Theme Icon
Family, Community, and Healing Theme Icon
...up microwavable dinners. Back at the motel, Patrisse checks Facebook and sees updates come in—Trayvon’s killer is acquitted of all charges. She goes into shock and then denial before realizing it’s... (full context)
Black Lives Matter Theme Icon
Prisons and Policing Theme Icon
Intersectionality of Identity Theme Icon
...sense that Richie could be locked up for 10 years without hurting anyone, but Trayvon’s killer gets to go home. Just then, she sees that her friend Alicia (whom she met... (full context)
Chapter 13: A Call, a Response
Black Lives Matter Theme Icon
Prisons and Policing Theme Icon
Intersectionality of Identity Theme Icon
...become the core of BLM-Los Angeles. Their list of demands includes federal charges against Trayvon’s killer, the release of a Black woman who was imprisoned for defending herself against an abusive... (full context)