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Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story features a lot of strong content, all of which revolves around race and systematic race-related injustices committed against black individuals in the United States. It features detailed descriptions of violent acts, as well as audio and video recordings of people getting shot, choked, punched, and hit by a car. Footage of race riots, white supremacist activities, and other events are shown. There's some cursing (the strongest words bleeped), images of a rude gesture, and references to marijuana use. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Change.org are discussed, and celebrities like Jay-Z are also featured.
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What's the story?
Co-executive produced by Jay-Z, REST IN POWER: THE TRAYVON MARTIN STORY is a six-part documentary that details the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, and how it spurred a social movement. After George Zimmerman shot and killed an unarmed Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, local law enforcement was unwilling to arrest and prosecute him due to the state's "stand your ground" law, which allows people to shoot when they feel imminently threatened. This lack of action, combined with the efforts of Trayvon's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, led to a series of events that inspired the controversial Black Lives Matter movement. The documentary shows how subsequent conversations about systematic racial injustice have led to a divisive national discussion while underscoring the continued social, political, and judicial injustices committed against black individuals since Trayvon's death, including the murder of Jordan Russell Davis, the Charleston church mass shooting, and the death of Eric Garner, who suffocated as a result of being held down by a New York City police officer. It also brings attention to some of George Zimmerman’s disturbing behavior after ultimately being acquitted of manslaughter, including stalking and threatening violence against the producers of this documentary.
Is it any good?
This poignant and troubling docuseries centers on the killing of Trayvon Martin as a way of offering a broader examination of systematic racial discrimination in the United States. It examines how quickly the Black Lives Matter movement spread from a small grassroots protest to a nationwide movement thanks to social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, and comments made by President Obama. It also points to the backlash that has resulted from this social activism, much of which the producers argue is instigated by white supremacist movements, and is tacitly endorsed by the NRA and President Trump.
Rest in Power is far from objective as it addresses these issues. Meanwhile, the interviews featured here, along with police recordings, interview footage, and images of protests, race riots, and violent acts being committed, paint a disturbing picture of race relations in the United States, while providing few solutions for making them better. But throughout it all, it humanizes Martin and underscores the incomprehensible sense of loss felt by his family. The result: A series that gives us a lot to think about, but one that's hard to watch without being deeply emotionally affected.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the reasons behind some of the issues and events discussed in Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story. What is systematic racism? How is it reinforced? How can it be challenged?
What is the mission of the Black Lives Matter movement? Why is it so controversial? Do you think Rest in Power addresses these controversies objectively? Why or why not?
Do you think the media perpetuates racial divisiveness? Does it have the power to alleviate racial tensions? How?