Trayvon was more than just a kid who was shot by a neighborhood watch man. For African Americans, his death was yet another reminder of this country's dreadful past: the killing of unarmed black males by a person who does not visibly appear black.
Although it is not unusual for witnesses when re-interviewed to remember new details, reconcile inconsistencies, or even contradict statements, the fact that all of these witnesses changed their original accounts raises the implication of improper witness-coaching.
From Washington to Hollywood to Main Street, Martin's story has struck a cultural nerve that demands effective policy response. In death, Trayvon Martin stands in the eye of a tempestuous storm that is forcing us to take a long, hard look in the mirror.
The Martin and Anderson cases demonstrate the vital role the federal government can play in investigations when there are questions surrounding the local or state government's ability or willingness to initiate a prosecution.
There is another trial of great urgency. We need a trial of our broken nation, where diatribes against women, immigrants, Muslims, people of color, and sexual minorities are considered "entertainment." Words are not innocent speech; words have content and impact.
Just like Trayvon Martin, I sometimes like to have a bag of candy, often Skittles, as I walk home or to a friend's house. Just like Trayvon Martin, I often put my hood on. But unlike Trayvon Martin, I have never been followed, stopped, or shot at by police.