The mother of Trayvon Martin used the 10th anniversary of her son’s death Saturday to urge those who sought justice for her family to continue to fight.
“I never do anything on the 26th, I never even plan anything on the 26th of February,” Sybrina Fulton said at the weekly meeting of the National Action Network, the civil rights organization founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton in Harlem.
She told an audience that included Sharpton and Mayor Eric Adams that she wanted to be there to support her supporters. Adams, a New York state senator at the time, was among several Black lawmakers who wore hooded sweatshirts to a 2012 legislative session to call attention to the 17-year-old’s death in Sanford, Florida.
Trayvon Martin had been wearing a similar sweatshirt when he was fatally shot on his way back from a store while visiting his father in a gated community in the Orlando suburb. George Zimmerman, a member of the community’s neighborhood watch, confronted the teenager and shot him after reporting him to authorities as a suspicious person.
Zimmerman, who told authorities that Martin had attacked him, was acquitted of second-degree murder in 2013.
The shooting refocused attention on race and justice in the United States. Sharpton, who early on met with Martin’s family and their attorney Ben Crump as they worked to draw attention to his death, on Saturday compared Martin’s legacy to that of Emmett Till, the Chicago teen whose lynching in Mississippi in 1955 stoked the civil rights movement.
“Today is a bittersweet day,” said Fulton, who with her family created the Trayvon Martin Foundation to raise awareness of gun violence. “I thank God for all the Trayvon Martins that you don’t know, all the young ladies who have been shot and killed and our Black and brown boys who have been shot and killed and you don’t know their names. Thank you for standing up for them. Thank you for praying for them. Thank you for supporting them. They need you. They need your voice. And if you don’t do anything else, don’t give up.”
Adams praised Fulton for “turning pain into purpose.”