The parents of slain teen Trayvon Martin challenged a standing-room-only crowd to become involved in the political process, starting with voting and jury duty during a Brain Food lecture on Monday, April 24, in Georges Auditorium.
Speaking to a crowd of more than 300 people, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin discussed how difficult it was recalling the events in the aftermath of Trayvon’s death and how they are trying to move forward in the healing process. They received a standing ovation after what was billed as an “open discussion” with Dr. Walter Kimbrough, university president, as interviewer.
The parents have written a book, “Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin,” to go beyond the media account to give an intimate look at a tragically stolen life.
Trayvon Benjamin Martin was 17 in 2012 when he was fatally shot returning to the home of his father’s fiancee from a convenience store in a Central Florida town with Skittles and a soda, He was shot by George Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch volunteer with a gun, who was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter in July 2013. Stanford police said Florida’s “stand your ground” law prohibited his arrest, and it took national media attention before Zimmerman was eventually charged.
Trayvon’s mother said, “A lot of you think of this as a story, but this is not a story because there is no end.”
Fulton said she was so traumatized after her son’s death that she doesn’t remember some events, including her son’s funeral. She admitted that some days she still wakes up crying, but she said she copes and heals through her faith and by surrounding herself around people who genuinely love her.
Even so, she said she knew it was important to talk about who her son was because “if you are not talking about it, you are a part of the problem.”
She said everyone must do his or her part, whatever that part may be, starting with registering to vote and going when called for jury duty: “It might not be for you [but] it might be for somebody else.” She stressed the fact that we have to understand the problems and do our part, whatever that part may be.
Martin said they wrote the book as a means of healing, not to point fingers at the justice system, although the incident and its account “unleashe[d] the ugliness of America.”
Fulton said, “This book is going to speak hard about death – how do you come back from losing someone who is so important to you, how do you pick up the pieces and put them back together and continue with your life?”
Fulton quoted her favorite Bible verse, Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”