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PVAMU’s Corey Shy: ‘I Am What Trayvon Martin Could’ve Been’

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By: Corey Shy

The picture on the left was taken when I was 17 years old, had just graduated from high school, and really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Based on my appearance in this picture, you probably would have labeled me a thug or a trouble maker. I only graduated in the top 50% of my class and I took my ACT 4 times. A promising future in college doesn’t look too well at this point, does it?

But at age 17 (Trayvon’s age when murdered), I didn’t realize how much I would be judged and stereotyped for the clothes I wore and my physical appearance. Two months after that picture on the left was taken, I entered college and quickly realized that I wasn’t pushing myself to be the best I could be. I hardly studied in high school but as a freshman in college, I began to study daily. I did so well that I was able to participate in a summer medical internship at Yale University. I went on to graduate from Prairie View A&M University Magna Cum Laude, and in two weeks, I will be attending Texas A&M’s Health Science College of Medicine to become a medical doctor.

The picture on the right is where I am now, just four years later at the age of 21. The reason I am sharing this with you is because I COULD HAVE BEEN TRAYVON MARTIN!!! The defense team could have gone onto the internet and found pictures of me that were similar to Trayvon’s pictures and characterized me as a thug. I could have been portrayed an aggressor and it may have lead to my death. If that would have happened, then I would not have had the opportunity to reach my true calling, which is to become a medical doctor.

My White Coat ceremony is in four days and it marks the next step in my journey. I could have been laying in a casket with a black suit, instead of of being in a white coat trying to save lives.

When I was 17, no one would have imagined that I would be doing so well and on my way to medical school. Who is to say that could not have happened to Trayvon Martin if he was still alive? He could have been the next doctor, lawyer, engineer, teacher, etc.

My prayers go out to his family and friends.

Please share my story so people can be more conscious of their racial profiling. Everyone has the potential, as long as they are alive, to achieve greatness and make a positive impact on this world.

  • Angela

    I never expected to see all these fools posting negatively about this article. Why in the hell would they get on this post to glorify Zimmerman and minimize the sincerity of Corey’s words and feeling, minimize the life of Trayvon.
    People need some God in their lives. For real.

  • http://newnovelannouncement.blogspot.com/ highpreistessley

    Thankfully Corey did not swig major cough syrup and ingest pot, and decide to smash someone’s head into the ground until he had to shoot to protect himself…..The situation is sad, but Zimmerman acted in self defense…it had nothing to do with Trayvon being black, it had to do with him beating on Zimmerman, to the point that the screaming Zimmerman pulled a gun to get Trayvon off off of him….It is always sad when potential is wasted, literally and figuratively speaking….unfortunately our president has decided to make this a racial matter instead of a self defense matter…

  • https://www.facebook.com/K.Bell.MsNoHeart Kendra Bellamy

    Oh wow! People can not be satisfied. Exactly like the gentleman said below maybe she should’ve went to PVAMU. She would’ve been paying for te name anyway.. Anyway very excited for you Corey. PVAMU ALUM!!!!!!!!

  • ac

    Anybody can do what the writer has done, don’t understand why race is brought up. I’ve known plenty of white ppl who dress like that and mess up in school ending up in prison. The whole situation was blown up by the media. Reason being, black people haven’t given the nation to think otherwise. The media thrives on stories like these. When you still have black on black crimes A LOT then what do you expect. My best friend is black btw and he believes the same as me. The only thing that happened that night was some guy tried to be a badass with a gun when he shouldve stayed in the car and some kid shouldve stayed calm n walked away, waited for the cops n explained that he wasn’t doing anything wrong. Been in that same situation btw as a hispanic male. Don’t try n say that it wouldnt have happened that way, maybe in Chicago or Detroit, but in a gated Florida community??… Get real. Some of you ppl are ignorant as hell n just like seeing ppl respond to your posts. Race had nothing to do with this situation, just bad judgement on both parts, nothing more.

    • TjOnEm

      Race was brought up because he was racially profiled. You don’t have to be a racist to racially profile someone. Zimmerman ended up killing someone he wrongfully racially profiled.

  • http://Facebook Rodrigues

    Sadly because of George Zimmerman we’ll never know……

  • https://www.facebook.com/hbcu.kidz Hbcu Kidz

    Such an inspiring story. It takes this type of reminder to soften the HARD heart and HARD heads and mend the broken self-esteems and lost identities. #Strong People.

  • the Tin Man

    Bully for you and best of luck in the future. Now speaking of racism, how did you get into a 4 year college graduating in the top 50% and having to take the ACT 4 times????????????? White non-thug looking kids from New England couldn’t. A close family friend’s daughter graduated top 10 in her class, scored 2260 out of 2400 on SATs (first try) was on the physics team, 4 years starter on the soccer and sailing teams, took AP classes at YALE in physics and got rejected from Yale! Oh yeah, she is blond blue eyed and beautiful but not good enough.

    • Deirdra Johnson

      Sounds like you are begrudging someone’s blessing.

    • marty

      If she had an attitude like yours, I’d reject her too. It takes a low person to hear someone’s story and rant about their troubles…or the trouble of someone they know of through someone they know. Get real.
      Congrats, Corey! Onward.

    • http://twitter.com/MIIHP Mark II (@MIIHP)

      Sounds like she shouldn’t have applied to Yale. Maybe she should have applied to Prairie View A&M. I’ve never heard of a white kid being rejected by a HBCU

    • Loretta

      It doesn’t matter if any person takes the ACT 4 times or 10 times as long as they keep learning and keep trying. Point is he kept trying and became successful in spite of the ignorance of many trying to keep him back.

    • G M

      What a tremendously ignorant response. This young man did not get accepted to Yale so to infer because your friend’s daughter did not get into Yale (where a 2260, incidentally, is nowhere near high enough) and he was accepted into a local university (with much different admission standards), this young lady was somehow discriminated against is a completely invalid assertion. The majority of students attending and accepted to Yale are white and only 6-7% of applicants are admitted, landing it in the top 10 of universities with the lowest college acceptance rates. Get that chip off your shoulder and do some research before you respond.

  • http://none Frank

    Cops kill people on a daily basis. I don’t hear anyone crying for them!! The media wants a race war! Don’t be a sucker & fall for it!!!

  • Gabriel

    This article’s pessimistically titled. You could’ve been Trayvon Martin? Cheer up! You still can be!
    If you walk through an unfamiliar gated community that had recently undergone vandalism and respond to questioning by the local head of the neighborhood watch committee by violently, physically attacking him…
    then — you can end up like Trayvon Martin today!
    And you know what? I’m 36. I’m white. If I acted like that, I could be Trayvon Martin today. I’ve always been white. Tall and handsome, too. You think I haven’t been stopped by people I didn’t know and questioned about my proceedings? You think I haven’t felt offended by that type of questioning before? You think I’ve never gotten angry at it?

    A lot added up to the tragedy of the day in question. Zimmerman had his suspicions and probably wanted to be a hero — catch someone red-handed and so on — just guessing, of course. Martin was perhaps too young to realize that being inside a gated community may lead to heightened suspicion of the presence of people unknown to the neighborhood — he just wasn’t thinking along those lines (guessing). He was immediately scared and confused by the first interaction with Zimmerman. Now, we should consider, if he was high enough to leave the gated community just to walk down to the store for some candy, we might conclude the weed didn’t help him comprehend the new situation, rather it may have added to his fear and confusion, and amplified his emotions — perhaps even beyond his control (again, guessing…).

    But at this point, how did the violence get started? That’s the problem with this whole scenario. That’s the problem with all the scenarios people try to apply to this situation. The race scenario. The profiling. Put all that aside. Trayvon Martin, at one point, violently, physically assaulted George Zimmerman. At that point the ball rolled towards tragedy. If not for that, Martin would be alive today. Try this. At any point, in any situation you can think of, leap on a person. Violently attack them. Bash their skull into the sidewalk as you kneel on top of them. Find out for yourself what happens to people that act like that.

    So don’t feel down about things. You could’ve been? You could’ve been Trayvon Martin? You still can be!

  • Piff

    Good for you sir, you should be proud of yourself as should your parents and the whole black community. However, I see little similarity between you and TM. Had TM just ignored the “creepy ass craka” nothing would have happened. Had he only had a verbal confrontation, he would be alive today. But, no, he had to be the tough guy and punch GZ in the nose. Of course it didn’t stop there, he continued to physically assault GZ, get him on the ground and pound his head into the concrete sidewalk. I like was Mr. O’Mara asked the medical examiner when he was going over each of GZ’s wounds. Mr. O’Mara would ask, “Is that wound life threatening?” The M.E. would reply “No.”. Same question, same answer for each wound. Finally Mr. O’Mara asked “What about the next one?” Of course the M.E. acted like he was talking a foreign language and offered no response but that of feigned bewilderment…But, Mr. O’Mara had made his point. TM contributed to his own demise. He assaulted the wrong person, he will never assault anyone again. He got what he deserved.

    • http://twitter.com/MIIHP Mark II (@MIIHP)

      According to Zimmerman, Martin paced around his car and Martin had his hand in his waistband like he had a gun. Zimmerman then rolled up his windows in fear. Also per Zimmerman, Trayvon ran off and Zimmerman gave chase. Whom was defending himself?

  • Sam Smith

    First, Trayvon Martin wasn’t murdered. He was killed by George Zimmerman in lawful self-defense. That was established in a court of law.

    Second, Unless you were a racist thug with a penchant for burglary, illegal drug use, assault and battery, and attempted murder, you were not like Trayvon Martin at all.

    It’s true a person can turn their life around, but it’s also true that many people have no inclination to do so. In Trayvon Maertin’s case, he CHOSE to act in a manner that lead
    directly to his death. He was no angel, and he wasn’t twelve years old anymore. And he was stupid enough to attack someone that (unfortunately for him) turned out to be able to defend himself.

    The very best thing you can say about the life and death of Trayvon Martin is simply this: It was a perfect example of self-destructive behavior, and a lesson to all who have the inclination to learn from it.

    • http://twitter.com/MIIHP Mark II (@MIIHP)

      You know what else has been established by the court of law? Both defendants were acquitted in the Emmett Till trial.

  • Susan

    Your picture at 17 does indeed look like a gangster thug. A few questions please: How many people did you victimize or terrorize? Vandalizing property, B&E, drug dealing, robbery, rape, murders? Would you admit to any crimes from that era if you were a perp?

    Travon looked like a thug too. The kind of person you don’t want roaming around your neighborhood. Zimmerman was trying to keep his neighborhood safe. The jury made the right call.

    The only guilty people behind this tragedy are the people promoting gangster and gangster-wannabe lifestyles. This cancer is one of the main influences in the destruction of mainstream black culture.

    • http://twitter.com/MIIHP Mark II (@MIIHP)

      Please define a gangster thug. You seem to have more expertise in the area than I do. What do they look like? What is their daily behavior? What do they talk like? What makes them different from any other Black person base upon your vast knowledge of them?

      Zimmerman was trying to keep the neighborhood of Trayvon Martin’s family free of people like Trayvon?

      • Susan

        Define gangster thug? Are you kidding? Just in case you’re serious …..

        What culture do you think the statistically-defined black murderers embrace? What culture do you think are doing the lion’s share of Chicago’s murders? Ever watch videos on “All Star Hip Hop”? There are a significant number of videos (not all of those vids by any means) of examples of gangster thug criminal trash.

        Blacks are destroying their own demographic by embracing this totally defective gangster culture. There are no socially redeeming qualities to this counter-culture. Blacks need to start embracing education and social growth.

    • http://twitter.com/MIIHP Mark II (@MIIHP)

      BTW, here is what Martin’s teacher had to say about the “gangster thug”:

      the only hint we have on record about Martin’s academic performance comes via his English teacher, Michelle Kypriss, of Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School in Miami.
      Martin was, the Orlando Sentinel paraphrases, by Kypriss’ account, “an A and B student who majored in cheerfulness.” Kypriss herself said

      Academically, Martin was on track for a better future than the writer of this article

      • Susan

        Uh-huh. Sure.

        Just like the media keeps showing the pics when he was much younger. Just like people trying to elevate this young man to saint hood. This young man was no saint.

        Look at his self-taken photos. Look at the video of his attendance at the street fight.

        So let’s see — we have a young thug, with a liver destroying drug habit, gold grill, weapons, piles of (stolen?) jewelry — and he majored in cheerfullness? ROTFLMAO.

  • Poor Tard

    And if you attacked GZ as TM did, you could have ended up like him. Stupid article…

  • Bobby

    Oh if only life were that simple. No one can predict the future, no one. If Bill Gates, wasted time finishing his degree from Harvard, instead of seizing the opoportunity to exploit the new microchip technology, he would have been just another run of the mill engineer,etc. etc. Same goes for billionaire, Larry Ellison,etc. Finally, the loss of life of a mere 17 year old, cannot be anything but tragic.

  • Pat Shaw

    I thought Kanye West was going to pop up after the jump.

  • rabbitnexus

    I’m in full agreement with the sentiments of the author. However as true as it is that Trayvon Martin could have turned his life around; and that assumes it was in reality as bad as portrayed to the wider would by the cacophony of different media we are bombarded with in all its putrid failure at the best of times, it is equally true that he may not. It is in either case not really relevant to this case even though the message of stereotypical profiling is, always. As a Muslim I know a bit about that now too. The reasons for the statistics in prisons and crimes and social as well as economic issues are many and varied but the Lamestream Media manages to dumb it down and keep it within the acceptable (to whom?) parameters of public so called discourse. We get idiots like Piers Morgan or Alex Jones, Bill O’Reilly or even Jon Stewart instead making a sort of stage we all supposedly have an avatar in. Society is complex and not as fair as the comfortable people like to think it is.

    I don’t think it is fair to assume under these circumstances that Trayvon was racially profiled in the court room it isn’t the impression one gets in whatever garbled fashion from the various narratives I’ve gleaned anyway, but that doesn’t make this piece any less valid. It’s importance comes of being actually part of the solution which needs to be applied if the complex set of issues at work in the fatal interaction between two people who may have managed to avoid conflict even if assumptions hadn’t been made by all parties involved on both sides of the tragedy.

  • Al Pastore

    What a stupid article. What does it have to do with Mr. Zimmerman having his nose broken, and his head bashed into the concrete by someone taller and stronger than he is?

  • James

    Still doesn’t change the fact that according to FBI statistics,the blacks are 13% of the population and commit over 60% of violent crimes. 80% of the prison population are black and Hispanic.
    Do the crime,do the time.

  • Joe Shoot

    The author of this drivel wishes us to subscribe to the naivete that based on similarity between himself and Martin at age 17 in attire, one may comfortably hold the notion that Martin could well have also resembled him in terms of vocational ambition.

  • Squidward

    Yawn. Yet another attempt to elevate Trayvon to Saint status.

    “You see? I made something of MY life through dint of hard work, which of course PROVES that Trayvon was on the very cusp of doing likewise! An incipient Leonardo DaVinci snuffed out in our time!”

    Come off it. If you want to mourn his loss as a human being, fine; but making him out to be more than he obviously was—rubbish. If you have some evidence that he had so much potential, please share it; but until then—leave the canonization to the Vatican, okay?

    • tae

      Did you know him??? If you die lets say now because someone took your life, idk you there for couldn’t say who or what you were in life. So if I say you weren’t shit because idk you or your life and lets say your mom has all these great awards and such that’s shows your a good person, ND I never see them. Can I say your not important, or you were never going to amount to anything????

  • https://www.facebook.com/smith.shawnette Shawnette Smith

    Oh my bring tears to my eyes.

  • Jessica Frost

    Wonderful story! Thanks for sharing. Even people who claim that they are not racist, often racially profile people, perhaps without even making the conscious decision to do it! I hope your story opens the eyes of some people and helps some to see this case in a different light.

  • Jack Tacang

    Great point DR. SHY

  • kelly

    Great job Corey! Its true and too many are not able to reach their full potential just like Trayvon. Its great that you are sharing your story and hopefully praving the way to less racial profiling in America!

  • Jessica

    So honored to read your story today. I teach and strive to communicate to individuals the importance of personal presentation in our current society while also hoping that my instruction in the classroom provides the building blocks of an understanding of how the structures of our society came to be and how grass roots movements in the past helped to make a change. May the conversation around this case motivate those of us who want to see reform to act.

  • Chanchez

    Love it! Keep doing what you’re doing! Very inspirational!

  • https://www.facebook.com/harold.watson.14 Harold Watson

    Corey’s story parallels the high school stories that I encounter as an English teacher and College and Career counselor in a public high school in the Bronx, NY. Every year, I rejoice each June as former students graduate college with similar stories of redemption from assumptions, no matter their color or economic status. We need to all do our part to make this the norm by speaking out against all injustices, modeling behavior that encourages this maturity, and showing faith in all our youth’s essential right to mature to adulthood. I know the reality that we as adults must take personal responsibility to help create a society that protects the lives of ALL of our youth. Our reward is that so many young men stereotyped as “thugs, slackers wanna be’s” will, in fact, not only become responsible adults, but having developed emphatic skills of citizenship, become the the very models that our society most needs. We each must take personal daily action against the national record of senseless tragedies. Not just against the hate in our world, but also to protect and build faith in our youth, for they are the real hope to change the stained “color” of our society from the pooled blood of 17-year olds children like Trayvon.

  • Joel Bailey

    You’re an strong inspiration bro. Keep it up.

  • Kylie Ann

    They all know this Kyle. I think the objective is to ensure young black boys DON’T reach their true potential. ALL kids do things that they would loathe as an adult. This country and it’s systems are hateful of blacks and prey on their demise.

  • bunny withers

    Thank you Corey and congratulations. Stories like yours remind us of the work we have to do. Like you, my heart is heavy and my prayers go out to Trayvon’s family. We must not let his death be in vain.
    Best wishes as you pursue your goal. Do us proud.
    PS – My parents both attended PV