An animation created by a South Carolina woman comparing the killing of an unarmed white South Carolina teen to the Trayvon Martin killing has gone viral. Lizz O’Neill made the illustration about the death of Marley Lion in an attempt to highlight Lion’s case. Lion was allegedly killed by black men during a botched robbery.
“I wanted to make the point that lives are lost every day," O’Neill said. "Some are nationally recognized and some never make it past the local news. Every life — in my opinion — deserves the same recognition despite race or circumstances.”
After Lion was shot and killed in June 2012, four black men were charged with murder, the International Business Times reported.
O’Neill, 22, had no idea the picture would generate so much buzz.
"When I made this picture, I never intended for it to become this big,” she said. “Before yesterday, almost no one outside of the Charleston area knew who Marley was. Now people across the nation know his name and are hearing his story.”
The meme features photos of Martin and Lion and asks the question “You tell me ... what is the difference?” in large font underneath.
O’Neill said race was not the issue.
“The reason why I chose Marley in particular was not because he was a white boy killed by a black man as so many are trying to make it seem," she said. "I used his story because it hits close to home.”
The first vice president of the Charleston NAACP chapter, Rev. Joseph Darby, addressed the two cases.
“On the one hand, they were two young men who were minding their own business when it occurred,” Darby said. “On the other hand, I think the problem in the Trayvon case is that the aftermath was different. In the case of Marley Lion, there was an immediate search for the killer, fairly rapid apprehension, rapid action. With Trayvon Martin ... the police were aware of the killing, but there was no charge until there was national pressure. I think the reason the Trayvon Martin case made national news was the level of inaction in Florida.”