George Zimmerman’s acquittal was one of the most painful experiences that we all went through even though we’re not personally connected to Trayvon Martin.
Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton took to the Convention Center at Essence Music Festival for the Empowerment Session, “Moms on a Mission: Mothers Turning Tragedy Into Triumphant Change.” to offer mothers advice, complete with action items so that their sons don’t share the same devastating fate as hers.
Fulton’s son was shot and killed in 2012 at the hands of self-proclaimed neighborhood watch, George Zimmerman after Zimmerman deemed the teen suspicious in a hoodie (in the rain) and decided he didn’t belong in his own neighborhood. Martin’s murder was the first of many national racially motivated killings that prompted the social media response of: #BlackLivesMatter. This heinous crime and Zimmerman’s subsequent acquittal thrust Fulton into activism.
Even though it’s been three years, time hasn’t healed the many deep-seeded wounds in Fulton’s heart. She admitted at Essence Fest that she is still struggling with her son’s death and that sharing that pain is what helps her heal.
“No matter how many times I say it, it still hurts,” she said, referring to Trayvon’s funeral, which she describes as the most difficult day of her life, even harder than the moment she learned of his death. “No matter who many times I say it, it still hurts. [But] if I could prevent that hurt from coming to one of you, then I’m going to say it. I’m going to mention it. I am going to stand up for what I believe in.”
And in standing up, Sybrina wanted to do more than just say it, she wanted to offer action items that will lead to real changes being made so that other mothers don’t have to deal with what she’s gone through.
“I need you to make sure you’re voting in all elections.”
2. Participate in jury duty
“I need you to make sure that when you get that summons in the mail for jury duty—the one that you don’t like to see—make sure you participate in jury duty.
3. Find a non-profit to join
“I need you to connect yourself with a non-profit organization that has the same goals in mind and has the same values that you want to fight for our children.”
What are you waiting for? Let’s get to work!