- Faith & Family
—Miami Times photo/D. Kevin McNeir
Parents say they won’t rest until justice is served
Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin should have been enjoying ice cream and cake with their son, Trayvon, as their family marked his 18th birthday. Instead, the grief-stricken parents and older son Jahvaris Fulton, found themselves at the center of a community peace walk last Saturday to honor the memory of their murdered child.
Close to a thousand people, including Academy Award winning actor Jamie Foxx, traversed the grounds of Ives Estate Park in north Miami-Dade County, not far from Krop Senior High School where Trayvon was a student. They marched, shouting “I am . . . Trayvon Martin.” They listened to heartfelt prayers, songs and inspirational messages. What remained constant was the demand for justice and seeing Trayvon’s murderer, George Zimmerman, face a jury of his peers for his crime. But with recent defendants in Florida having been successful in employing the controversial Stand Your Ground law to escape prosecution, some wonder if Zimmerman will be able to legally justify profiling, confronting and shooting the unarmed teenager.
Trayvon was shot and killed on Feb. 26, 2012 by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman after having purchased snacks at a nearby convenience store. Zimmerman’s trial is scheduled to begin June 10th.
“Each case is different but we are optimistic,” said Ben Crump, the family’s attorney. “We are also pushing for the Trayvon Martin bill to be passed that would make it illegal to pursue someone like Zimmerman did when he followed and senselessly killed Trayvon Martin.”
“A lot of people said they’d be there to help us but many have already forgotten about Trayvon,” said a tearful Sybrina Fulton. “But all of you came today. Jamie [Foxx] came today. I am leaning on God to continue to help me through this very difficult process. We are not going to stop fighting until justice has its say. This is not just for Trayvon — it’s for all of our children.”
Trayvon’s father, Tracy was unable to complete his message to the crowd as he was overcome with emotion.
“I love my son and I miss him everyday but I know that he’s looking down on us from Heaven and encouraging us to keep the faith and keep fighting,” Tracy said.
Foxx added that he came to support the family simply because he too is a father.
“The first time I heard about this tragic story, it hit me really hard,” Foxx said. “It looked like the shooter was going to get away with his crime at first and I called Sybrina and told her we weren’t going to let him get away with murder. We aren’t asking for anything out of the ordinary — we just want justice. This must go to court. That’s the American way.”
About 100 members of the International Masons and Prince Hall marched in solidarity for Trayvon.
“Tracy is very close to us — he’s one of our brothers,” said William Eskridge, 34. “We had no choice but to be here. Still I am not so sure that justice will be served when this case goes to trial.”
“We are facing too many senseless murders of young Black men and too many unsolved crimes and our community wants this country to know that we are tired of it,” said Eric Patterson, 44. “Sometimes justice comes in stages but you can’t let up. Look at how the U.S. devalues Black lives. Michael Vick went to jail for abusing dogs. But when you kill Black boys nothing happens.”
Torian Cox, 36, basileus [president] of Omega Psi Phi’s Sigma Alpha [Miami] graduate chapter, was joined by several dozen of his fraternity brothers.
“More brothers are on the way and our message is simple: We are going to hold society accountable,” he said. “We must stand up, show up and speak up because we know that what happened to Trayvon could and does happen to Black youth throughout this country every day.”
“We’re not going anywhere until we empty the prisons and begin to fill our colleges and universities,” said hip-hop preacher Rev. Jamal Bryant. “Tracy was doing the right thing for his son. Sybrina has become the Rosa Parks for the hip-hop generation. They need our support. And we’re here for them.”
State Representative Cynthia Stafford said she was proud of the turnout.
“This is the modern day movement — it’s a hoodie versus a collar. It was Rosa, now it’s Sybrina. I truly appreciate the sacrifice that Trayvon’s parents have made. They have turned their pain into purpose.”
“We are working on all fronts to keep our children safe and avoid senseless killings,” said M-DC Commissioner Barbara Jordan. “It is important to note that there is strength in numbers.”
By D. Kevin McNeir