Trayvon Martin’s Mom Gets Candid
It’s just after noon when Sybrina Fulton dials into the conference line for our interview, and it’s quite obvious that she’s a very busy woman.
“I have a million things to do,” she says almost apologetically. “You know how it is.”
The world knows Sybrina via tragedy. Her son Trayvon Martin’s Feb. 2012 death sparked worldwide protests and national outcry about the unfair practices executed by the American justice system, one that seems to lend itself to the execution and incarceration of Black and Brown bodies more than justice.
What’s worse? The fact that her son’s killer remains free.
“That is the most outrageous part of it,” said Fulton. “Not only do you lose your loved one, but the person who shot and killed them does not have to justify themselves for what they’ve done, because we have laws that say you can shoot somebody and get away with it.”
Fulton’s life forever changed on that fateful winter evening. Her quest for justice earned her recognition from Cafe Mocha’s Salute Her Tour this year, one that honors women who are making positive changes in their communities.
“A lot of times, people think that what we need to do is change the laws and have stricter laws” said Fulton. “I’m for change and I think that we need change, but not only do we need to see change in law, but in mindsets. When somebody can look at you and judge you by the color of your skin, it’s not something wrong with the person that you’re looking at, it’s something wrong with the person judging you. So we gotta get that into people’s heads and mindsets.”
Through the Trayvon Martin Foundation, Fulton works tirelessly to ease not just her pain, but the pain of those who have lost loved ones far too soon.
“Through the hurt, we created the Trayvon Martin Foundation,” said Fulton. “We reach out to other families that are victims of senseless gun violence, and through reaching out to those families, we’re able to try to encourage them so that they can figure out their [new version of normal] because your life is never gonna be the same again. They’re going to carry that pain with them every day of their lives.”
Each year, the foundation unites African-American mothers whose children have lost their lives at the hands of a gun for the Circle of Mothers event. For two years, Fulton has engaged women through the platform, which has featured the likes of Lisa Nichols and Afeni Shakur as keynotes speakers.
“Just about every emotion comes out and I’m very proud of that event” said Fulton. “It’s getting bigger, each year it gets better, and I just feel good about doing something for the mothers because I know what I had to do for myself.”
The truth is that while we all have busy moments, I don’t “know how it is.”
I am not a mother of a young Black male in America. My child was not murdered senselessly, and I do not have to deal with the constant, nagging reminder that justice has not been served for his death.
The truth is that I will never “know how it is,” and I wish that Ms. Fulton did not either.
For more information on Ms. Fulton and the Trayvon Martin Foundation, visit www.trayvonmartinfoundation.org.