Eight months ago, a Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Since her son’s death, Sybrina Fulton has dedicated her life to bringing about social change. She created the Trayvon Martin Foundation, which serves to create awareness of how violent crime impacts the families of the victims, as well as provide support for those families. She brings her message to Milwaukee this week.
“I tell people all the time that I’m just an average mom. It hurts a great deal to know that I’m going to miss out on so many things of my son’s life: His first day of college, him graduating from high school, him going to the prom, getting married and having kids,” Fulton said.
Martin’s death and Zimmerman’s subsequent acquittal in 2012 sparked a national debate over “Stand Your Ground” laws. Fulton’s opinion on the matter is clear.
“People are using this ‘Stand Your Ground’ law in 24 different states. It’s giving people the right to shoot and kill and ask questions later. It’s giving people the right to, you know, not be held accountable for murder,” Fulton said.
As she travels the country to talk about her son’s life, she also aims to educate people about how violent crimes affect the families of victims. She said empowering youth is a key to fostering greater understanding and acceptance in our society, and getting youth engaged in civics is equally important.
“We need to make sure that … when our young teens turn 17, and are about to turn 18, that they are registered to vote,” Fulton said. She added, “We need to make sure that we have good people that’s in the jury pool that’s being selected for the juries. We need more open-minded people that are aware of what’s going on.”
Fulton continues to fight an uphill battle in the quest for tolerance and acceptance, but she said she remains undaunted.
“It consumes my mind sometimes, but that’s why it’s so important that I focus on the (The Trayvon Martin) Foundation because I know that I have to do other work,” Fulton said. “It took Florida years to get into this mess. I’m not going anywhere … I’m going to fight for the rights that I think are important, and the issues that I think are important. I’m in it for the long haul.”