Trayvon Martin was killed five years ago, but his father, Tracy Martin, says he hasn’t had time to grieve.
“We’ve been just busy advocating and being on the front lines for the families that are losing their children,” Martin told HuffPost, noting how his son’s death galvanized the country and helped ignite the Black Lives Matter movement. “I think part of me wants to say, ‘OK, let me step back and take care of myself,’ but then you turn on the TV and it’s something else happening to our children.”
Since his 17-year-old son was gunned down by a neighborhood watchman (who was later acquitted) in 2012, Martin has been tirelessly working to honor Trayvon and fight injustices against black lives. Earlier this year, Martin published a book co-authored by Trayvon’s mom, Sybrina Fulton, memorializing their son’s life. Martin has become a mentor, teaching his own kids and other black children methods for survival in a country that tells them their lives don’t matter, something that he said “helps me get by day to day.”
“But at the end of the day, I still know that there’s something missing, something I’ll never get back, which is Trayvon,” he said.
Recently, Martin was able to do something for himself to help ease the pain that he still feels. He got a portrait tattoo of his son, depicting him as his dad will always see him ― as a king.
Martin appears on an upcoming episode of VH1′s “Black Ink Crew Chicago” to get the tattoo honoring his son. The art, done by Van of 9 Mag, combines Trayvon’s image with the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt.
“I didn’t want to do just a portrait of him,” Martin told HuffPost. “I wanted it to mean more to me than just a regular tattoo. So I just think the greatness of the Sphinx or the pharaohs, the images just did it to me, knowing what he meant to me, knowing how much I cherish him.”
Because Trayvon is Martin’s “wonder of the world,” the dad believed the fusion was fitting, he told the cast in the clip above.
The tattoo, located on the upper right side of his back, is Martin’s second piece of body art dedicated to his son. His first was Trayvon’s name along with his birth and death dates.
“I can’t say enough about how much I’m pleased with the tattoo and everybody who’s seen the tattoo thinks it’s a great piece,” Martin told HuffPost. For Martin, he’ll never be able to “get over the hurt [and] the pain,” but this permanent piece of his son on his back means a lot in helping him take it one day at a time.
Watch the full clip from “Black Ink Crew Chicago” above.