WASHINGTON -- Sybrina Fulton, whose teenage son Trayvon Martin was gunned down last year by a man who claimed he was acting in self-defense, will testify next Tuesday about the impact of "Stand Your Ground" laws.
Fulton is one of several witnesses appearing before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, which is holding a hearing titled “Stand Your Ground’ Laws: Civil Rights and Public Safety Implications of the Expanded Use of Deadly Force." Lucia McBath, whose teenage son Jordan Davis was shot and killed in July by another man claiming self-defense, will also testify. Both shootings took place in Florida, both teens were black and neither was armed.
More than two dozen states have some type of "Stand Your Ground" law, which allows a person who feels threatened to “meet force with force, including deadly force.” Florida's controversial law wasn't invoked during Martin's trial, though it did factor into the jury's decision, according to one of the jurors. The law may be directly tested in the Dunn case.
Fulton's testimony on the issue comes two months after Tracy Martin, Trayvon's dad, appeared on Capitol Hill and spoke briefly during a meeting of the Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys. The topic of the meeting was "The Status of Black Males: Ensuring Our Boys Mature Into Strong Men."
Martin's case sparked national outrage, particularly when, in July, a Florida court handed down a not guilty verdict for Zimmerman. The ruling prompted President Barack Obama to unexpectedly appear at a White House press briefing and deliver an unusually personal response to the situation, putting the spotlight on the nation's struggles with racial bias toward black men and boys.
"When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son," Obama said. "Another way of saying that is, Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago."