Standing next to Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton and father Tracy Martin at the Betty T. Ferguson Amphitheater, Jay-Z delivered a short speech to the hundreds of marchers at the sixth annual Peace Walk & Peace Talk, the Miami Herald reports.
“We want to make sure that we stand and support and never forget that Trayvon serves as a beacon of light to the people out here. So you guys will never have to go through the pain and hurt that these guys went through,” the rapper said.
“And his name will sit alongside the greats whom lost their lives to push our culture forward — the Martin Luther Kings, the Gandhis. That’s the intention that we set, that his name serves as a beacon of light and hope to push us in a better direction, so thank you guys for your support. Thank you for being here.”
Jay-Z’s appearance at Peace Walk & Peace Talk had not been publicized beforehand. The annual march honors Martin, the unarmed 17-year-old who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida in 2013. Zimmerman was ultimately acquitted of the murder as a result of Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law. February 5th marked what would have been Martin’s 23rd birthday.
In 2013, Jay-Z and Beyonce attended a New York rally that demanded justice following Martin’s death. Last March, Jay-Z announced plans to produce both a six-part docuseries and a feature film about Martin. Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story will premiere in July on the Paramount Network.