The day after hosting U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the National Urban League conference in Philadelphia today heard from the mother of Trayvon Martin.
Sybrina Fulton blamed Florida law for allowing George Zimmerman to be found not guilty in her son’s death.
“I speak to you as Trayvon’s mother, I speak to you as a parent. And the absolutely worst telephone call you can receive as a parent is to know that your son, your son, you will never kiss again,” said Fulton. She said the verdict will not define her son and that she believes God is using her family to make a change.
Fulton said faith has helped her deal with the pain. “It’s only through God that I stand before you today and as I said before: ‘Trayvon was my son but Trayvon is also your son.'” She called on the audience to think about how her son will never go to prom, graduate high school, or have children of his own. “All because of a law. A law that has prevented the person who shot and killed my son to be held accountable and to pay for this awful crime.” Fulton urged the audience to act to make sure it doesn’t happen to someone else’s child, but did not get specific. She never mentioned Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law by name.
Conference attendee Francis Page, from Houston called the speech powerful. “She has the courage to get out and speak about it to highlight the issue that the stand your ground law has flaws and hopefully our legislators will take that and consider it.”
Leona Dixon, from North Philadelphia, said she can identify with Fulton. “My heart goes out to her because I too am the mother of a young son and I think it was a tragedy and it’s just heart-wrenching to see the pain that she’s going through.” Dixon said she hopes something positive will come out of Trayvon Martin’s death.”
In introducing Fulton, National Urban League CEO Marc Morial said watching the trial of George Zimmerman left many “horrified.” “The Urban League movement today wraps our arms around this family, wraps our arms around Ms. Fulton, send our prayers to her. She is the mother of all of our children today.”
Conference attendee Gloria Dulan-Wilson said as the mother of three, her heart goes out to Fulton because she too worried about her kids returning home safely.
“I think people also need to know that she is a mother, she’s a mother in good standing. She’s a black woman, she’s a mother who is now trying to also reach out to everybody to make them aware of the fact that we’re in a society that’s supposed to be moving forward and we’re moving backwards at a much more rapid pace than we are making progress.” Dulan-Wilson attended Lincoln University and Temple University. Now retired, she is moving from New York to Philadelphia. She said the need for justice and equality in Florida and beyond “is more important now than ever.”