It has been 1 year, 4 months and 23 days since Trayvon Martin was ripped out of the lives of his parents’ Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman.
Ms. Fulton and the family’s attorney Ben Crump joined Roland Martin almost a week after the non-guilty verdict to discuss the impact of her son’s death on society, give her feelings about the Zimmerman verdict and she lets us know what needs to be done to make sure something like this doesn’t happen to other families.
Read the full interview below.
ROLAND MARTIN: …You have been doing the rounds of interviews across the country. It’s been almost a week from the decision. How do you feel even today?
SYBRINA FULTON: Good morning. I feel energized. I feel like there’s work to do. I feel that the people, the supporters, are encouraging me to keep fighting. So I’m ready to fight.
ROLAND MARTIN: Sybrina, I’ve said that Trayvon could serve as this generation’s Emmett Till in terms of being a catalyst for change in terms of moving the next generation to fight social justice. Your thoughts about that.
SYBRINA FULTON: I think it is. I think we feel connected to, I think other people feel connected to this case and they want to do something. Sometimes you get to a point where you just can’t take it anymore. And I think this is the actual case where they just can’t take it anymore. They just can’t take the injustice they’re seeing in the court systems, with the justice system. They just can’t take it anymore. And they want their voices to be heard. And I will 100% support that.
ROLAND MARTIN: When you watch interviews, when you watch folks on television who are, who end up attacking your son, calling him a thug, questioning his upbringing and things along those lines. Do you tune it out? Does it make you angry? Or do you simply say I just got to pray for such ignorance.
SYBRINA FULTON: I have to pray for that. I have to pray for them because they don’t know Trayvon. And the thing is when you don’t know somebody you make up stuff. You want them to be the bad guy to justify what has happened. But that still won’t justify it because George Zimmerman has Trayvon’s innocent blood on his hands.
ROLAND MARTIN: Sabrina, clearly the DOJ is investigating this, potentially looking at violations of civil rights of Trayvon Martin. You also have the potential for a civil suit, Ben Crump; you can step in as well. Are you looking at the civil suit and does the fact that the jury instructions had stand your ground in them make it even more difficult for you to pursue a civil suit against George Zimmerman?
BEN CRUMP: We’re certainly looking at all our legal options, Roland, and certainly the stand your ground law may be an impediment to us going forward but that is going to be a court decision and we’re going to talk about that with you and Tom, Roland, because there are some things we as a community need to try to do to push that.
But right now we’re focused still on holding the killer accountable. And we want the Department of Justice to answer that picture that we are framing, can private citizens profile our children and follow them, confront them and not be held accountable. Because not even the United States Supreme Court will allow police officers to profile individuals based on a race or class.
TOM JOYNER: Sybrina, Ms. Fulton, how did you feel when you heard the interview of Juror B37 when she said that she felt that George Zimmerman’s heart was in the right place.
SYBIL WILKES: And George. Not just Zimmerman.
TOM JOYNER: Yeah, just George. How did that make you feel?
SYBRINA FULTON: It just shows me that there is some disconnect. They did not see Trayvon as a teenager. They saw him as something else. They did not see him as minding his own business. It seems to me like they took everything, and like she said, George, everything that George said, and they took it as the gospel truth.
Well, we all know that if you had shot and killed somebody you’re going to say anything that you have to say to try to get out of the mess that you got yourself into. And I feel that our kids have to be careful now, because now we have to have the conversation with our kids about do you walk fast? Do you walk slow? Do you even walk at all to the store to get a drink and some candy?
ROLAND MARTIN: Sybrina, still lots of conversation from many people as it relates to our kids, and hoodies and things along those lines. And I got to ask you, with all of this, would you tell your surviving son, would you tell, if you could do it all over again, would you tell Trayvon, people are making judgments about you. You got to change what you wear?
SYBRINA FULTON: What I would tell my son now, and if I had been given the opportunity to tell Trayvon anything, he definitely would not have been in Stamford; because I don’t think in Miami he would have been profiled.
It’s hard for me right now because everything is still so fresh. But I want them to be able to walk down the street, but I don’t want them to be afraid that somebody’s going to see them as a target. Somebody may see them as a burglar. And he was no burglar. Trayvon was no burglar and neither is Jahvaris. They’re not burglars. They are not looking for trouble. They’re just not those type of kids. And what I would tell them is to be safe. Be safe and just try to make it back home as quickly as you can and as safely as you can because you don’t know what the other person’s intentions are.
ROLAND MARTIN: You have a lot of mothers and fathers out there who have had to have some difficult conversations with their children in the wake of this verdict. What would you tell those parents who said, now I live in fear to even send my kids to the store just to get some candy?
SYBRINA FULTON: That we need to definitely change these laws. We can’t have a law on the books that says it’s alright for you to own a gun, it’s alright for you to follow somebody in the vehicle, follow somebody on foot, chase them, pretty much chase them, and get into a fight with them, shoot and kill them and say you was standing your ground. That’s another thing that we’re working on is the Trayvon Martin amendment that says you cannot do those things. But right now, as of now, those laws are on the books, it’s an awful law for us right now.
BEN CRUMP: Roland.
ROLAND MARTIN: Yes, Ben. Go ahead.
BEN CRUMP: We encourage people to visit the Trayvon Martin Foundation, travyonmartin.org where we talk about those things, because as Sybrina and Tracy have said all along, they can’t bring Trayvon back, but right now they’re trying to make sure this doesn’t happen to your child.
ROLAND MARTIN: We also need folks to go to the website to also give as well because it takes money to fund these initiatives so that’s a part of it as well. Sybrina Fulton, you and Tracy are certainly profiles in courage. We thank you so much. You’re enduring a significant amount of pain, but there are lots of people who are standing tall with you.
SYBRINA FULTON: Thank you so much.
SYBIL WILKES: Will we see you at the Family Reunion with us?
SYBRINA FULTON: Of course I’ll be there.
SYBIL WILKES: Oh, God bless you.
SYBRINA FULTON: That way I can let my hair down.
SYBIL WILKES: There you go.
SYBRINA FULTON: I look forward to letting my hair down.