Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old whose shooting death by a neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman set off a national conversation on racial profiling and the inequities in the criminal justice system, formally announced yesterday she is running for local office in Florida.
Fulton became an activist after the death of her son in Sanford, Fla., in 2012 by making speeches around the country as she worked to curb gun violence. She now she aims to do so from inside the government as a policy maker. She will contest the mayor of Miami Gardens Oliver G. Gilbert III for a seat on the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners.
“At first I didn’t want to be the voice for Trayvon after he died, but I decided I have no choice,” Ms. Fulton said in an Instagram video announcing her campaign. “Now I am called to act and called to serve,” she said. She joins other mothers such as Lezley McSpadden and U.S. Congress member Lucy McBath, who also senselessly lost their unarmed sons to gun violence, in running for office.
Fulton is a former housing agency employee who believes a new chapter of serving the public is in order for her. “My time as a public servant began 30 years ago at Miami-Dade County. Since 2012, I have advocated tirelessly to empower our communities and make them safer,” she relayed in an Instagram post. “But the work is not done. I am proud to announce that I will run to represent District 1 on the county commission.”
The official trailer has been released for the docuseries Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story.
The docuseries, produced by Jay Z, has been in the works for about a year. The Trayvon Martin Story comes after the Jay Z-produced Time: The Kalief Browder Story, which debuted on Spike. This new docu-series will air on Paramount Network, the recently-rebranded Spike.
Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story is based on the life and legacy of Trayvon Martin. The six-part non-scripted documentary series will be the definitive look at one of the most talked-about and controversial events in the last decade that spurred the impactful worldwide Black Lives Matter movement.
Executive producers for the series include Shawn Carter, Sybrina Fulton, Tracy Martin, Chachi Senior, Michael Gasparro, Jenner Furst, Julia Willoughby Nason and Nick Sandow. Furst and Nason will serve as co-directors on the project.
Trayvon Martin’s parents were the recipients of a major honor on behalf of their late son. Florida Memorial University awarded the slain teen with a posthumous Bachelor’s Degree during the school’s annual commencement ceremony last Saturday (May 13).
“To say that we’re thankful is an understatement,” said Martin’s father, Tracy. “I think this shows what this community, how they feel, how they believe in our family, believe in our foundation, how we’ve worked together, it was a heartfelt moment when they called Trayvon’s name to accept the degree for him, it was very touching. This was a day that we planned for as parents, we just wish that we would have watched him walk across the stage.”
Martin received a Bachelor of Science in Aviation, with a concentration in flight education, honoring his dream of becoming a pilot. Sybrina Fulton, Martin’s mother, graduated from FMU two years after he was born. “In 1997 I graduated from FMU with a Bachelors degree in English with a minor in Mass Communications,” she wrote on Instagram earlier int he month. “It’s now 20 years later & now my son #TrayvonMartin will receive his Bachelors in Aviation, something he loved.”
Shawn “Jay Z” Carter and the Weinstein Company are partnering on an ambitious series of film and television projects about Trayvon Martin. The indie label and the rap icon won a heated bidding war for the rights to two books — “Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It” and “Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin.” The 2012 shooting of the 17 year-old Martin sparked a national debate about racial profiling and inequities of the criminal justice system that brought about the Black Lives Matter movement.
The African-American high school student was killed by George Zimmerman, 28, who was a member of the neighborhood watch in his Florida community. He claimed he shot Martin, who was unarmed, in self defense after the two became involved in a physical altercation. Zimmerman’s acquittal on a second-degree murder charge inspired protests around the country.
“Suspicion Nation” is by Lisa Bloom and recounts her experience covering the trial for NBC. She looks at the mistakes made by prosecutors that caused them to lose what she describes as a “winnable case.” “Rest in Power” is by Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. It tells a more personal story, looking at Martin’s childhood and the aftermath of his death.
The plan is to make a six-part docu-series with Jay Z producing as part of a first-look deal he signed with the studio last September. The indie studio will also develop a narrative feature film. The Weinstein Company earned critical raves for “Fruitvale Station,” another true story, about the death of Oscar Grant, an unarmed black man who was killed in 2009 by a BART police officer.
According to blackenterprise.com, Jahvaris Fulton, the older brother of slain Sanford, Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, recently graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology.
Wilson, a founder of 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, also counts Fulton as a member who helped to encourage at-risk in Miami-Dade schools to stay in school.
Recently, Jahvaris and Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, spoke on CNN’s Anderson Cooper show to highlight the wide breadth of miscommunication that exists between persons of color and white America. “It’s not happening to them, so they don’t quite get it,” she told Cooper in an interview that aired Friday. “They don’t quite understand. They think that it’s a small group of African Americans that’s complaining: ‘Oh, what are they complaining about now?’”
This week, however, was all about celebrating Jahvaris’ success in higher academia. The exciting news was confirmed via Twitter, with many attendees tweeting their congrats.
Black community leaders are taking a stand against the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. On March 10, 2014 in Tallahassee, Florida, leaders across the country including Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network are gathering in the Sunshine State to rally and a hold a prayer vigil in protest of SYG.
Sharpton will also be joined by Attorney Ben Crump and the parents of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis. The march begins at 9:30am ET at the Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center, located at 505 W Pensacola St, Tallahassee, FL 32301. After the march is completed, the rally begins at the State Capitol located at 400 South Monroe St, Tallahassee, Florida, FL 32301.
If anyone understands the pain that Jordan Davis’ parents are feeling at this moment, it’s Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. The parents of Trayvon Martin offered their support to Lucia McBath and Ron Davis this weekend, who heard Michael Dunn’s verdict on the eve of what would have been their son’s 19th birthday. In a statement, Sybrina and Tracy said that this case is “yet another reminder that in Florida, racial profiling and stereotypes” may serve as the basis for illegitimate fear “and the shooting and killing of young teenagers.”
Dunn, a 47-year-old software developer, fired 10 rounds at a SUV carrying four teens in a Jacksonville gas station parking lot after an altercation over loud rap music. On Saturday, a jury found him guiltyon three counts of attempted second-degree murder and one count of shooting a deadly missile into a vehicle. However, the 12 jurors could not reach a decision on the top count of first-degree murder — meaning he was not convicted for three of the 10 shots that hit 17-year-old Davis and ultimately cost his life.
Although the jury did not convict her son’s killer of premeditated murder, Lucia McBath still expressed gratitude for the verdict. “We are so grateful for the truth,” she said. “We are so grateful that the jurors were able to understand the common sense of it all.” “[Dunn] is going to learn that he must be remorseful for the killing of my son,” father Ron Davis said at the post-trial press conference, “it was not just another day at the office.”
Jamie Foxx opened up his home last weekend and held a special fundraising event in honor of Trayvon Martin. Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, were in attendance and they were joined by several celebrity guests including Harry Belafonte, Russell Simmons and Tyrese, among others. According to Extra, Belafonte delivered a speech at the event and Simmons presented Martin’s parents with a six-figure check addressed to the Trayvon Martin Foundation.
The foundation was launched in honor of the late teen, who was shot to death by volunteer neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in February 2012. The event later led to a racially-charged case in which Zimmerman was ultimately acquitted of all charges in the death of 17-year-old Martin. According to the foundation’s website, the purpose of the non-profit organization is to create awareness of how violent crime impacts the families of the victims and to provide support and advocacy for those families in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin.
Foxx, who has an 18-year-old daughter, has been vocal in expressing his support for Martin’s family in the past and has vowed to keep Martin’s memory alive. “When I first saw this story, I couldn’t get over it,” Foxx said at a community event earlier this year. “I’m absolutely committed to all you out there who have young kids. I hope you never have to go through anything like this.”
Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, told a Senate panel Tuesday that states must clarify their ‘stand your ground’ self-defense laws after the man who fatally shot her son was acquitted of manslaughter. (Matt Rourke/AP)
WASHINGTON — The mother of Travyon Martin, the Florida teen killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer, told a Senate panel today that stand your ground self-defense laws should be changed. Sybrina Fulton offered the tragic case of her son as Exhibit A of why she said such laws do not work. “He was simply going to the store to get snacks, nothing more, nothing less,” Fulton said of her son, who was shot dead by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., in early 2012.
“He was minding his own business, he was not looking for any kind of trouble, he was not committing any kind of crime.” She added, “The person who shot and killed my son is walking the streets today. … The Law is not working.” Martin’s killing ignited a national debate about stand your ground laws and racial profiling. The debate grew even louder after Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges. More than two dozen states have some version of stand your ground laws, which let individuals use lethal force instead of retreating if they feel threatened with death or serious injury in public by another person.
Senate Democrats convened the hearing, which triggered a clash with Republicans on the Judiciary subcommittee who favor stand your ground laws. Sen. Dick Durban (D-Ill.) cited research that suggests about 600 homicides a year can be traced to such laws, with no apparent impact on overall crime deterrence. His view that such laws have done little else but accentuate a “shoot first” mentality among citizens was quickly disputed by the firebrand freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Florida Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill that made some changes to the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. The bill, which was passed by a vote of 7-2, has been strongly supported by the family of Trayvon Martin. The 17-year-old was shot and killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder and was acquitted by a Florida jury in July.
“Tracy and I have said from the beginning that our hope is that the tragedy of Trayvon’s death can be turned into real change so that other parents don’t have to experience the grief we have endured” Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, said following the announcement of the bill’s advancement.
“The work here is not done, and we fear an uphill battle going forward to achieve real change in our son’s name.” Stand Your Ground allows citizens to use deadly force if they feel their life is in danger. New changes to the bill would include providing proper training for neighborhood watch programs, ensuring a proper investigation is conducted after Stand Your Ground is claimed, allowing lawsuits against people acting in self-defense if they negligently injure or kill an innocent bystander and limit the use of the law when aggressors claim it.
“I see this as an important first step in making sure that Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law properly protects victims and applaud the committee for taking this first step,” said Martin family attorney Ben Crump in a press release. “In light of current events in Washington D.C., It is refreshing to see legislators compromising and working together so that Florida’s citizens are protected.”