Trayvon Martin has often been in the thoughts of playwright and activist Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj in the four years since the 17-year-old unarmed black boy was shot and killed after a confrontation with neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.
He has wondered about Martin’s dreams, his life and the moments before he died.
Maharaj has channeled those thoughts into a two-hour play debuting Thursday at Philadelphia’s New Freedom Theater.
“The Ballad of Trayvon Martin,” co-written with Thomas Soto, explores the idea of the dangerous consequences for black boys and men of being perceived as a threat through the lens of Martin, whose death in Sanford, Florida, on Feb. 26, 2012, was a galvanizing event for many black Americans and seen by some as the nascent origins of the Black Lives Matter movement underway across the country.
Maharaj wrote the play six months after Zimmerman was acquitted of Martin’s death in 2013.