It’s been five years since Trayvon Martin was shot and killed, but his parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, who have both displayed unwavering strength since the tragedy, say his legacy lives on through them.
“He’s not here, his voice isn’t here, he’s not physically here but he’s here through us,” Sybrina Fulton told The Huffington Post this month. “We’re gonna speak for him; he’s the voiceless.”
Fulton has done just that over the years. Fulton and Trayvon’s father, Tracy, have relentlessly worked to keep their son’s spirit alive while speaking out about the circumstances that led to his death. Now Fulton and Martin have written a book on the enduring life of Trayvon, titled “Rest in Power: A Parents’ Story of Love, Injustice and the Birth of a Movement.”
Martin was fatally shot on February 26, 2012 by then-neighborhood watch guard George Zimmerman, who claimed he fired his weapon at Martin because he said he believed him to be “a suspicious person” who posed a threat. Martin, who was walking home from a nearby store, was wearing a hoodie and holding a bag of Skittles in the moments before he died. His killing ignited a wave of intense protests that denounced police brutality and ultimately birthed the Black Lives Matter movement.
Fulton and Martin mourn the loss of their son every day, and some days are more difficult to endure than others which is why they admit it took them five years to put their feelings into words in the form of their latest book. And while there are several books that focus on Trayvon and his death, his parents say they don’t adequately capture the details of Trayvon’s life because, simply, no one ever knew him like they did.
“We didn’t really want to write the book because it’s just reliving the story of how our son was taken away from us,” Martin said. “This was our opportunity to let the world know who Trayvon Martin really was.”
Still, through this book and other methods of outreach, they continue raise awareness around issues of policing in America and share messages of empowerment and healing.
“We just want people to take something away from the book, take healing away, take awareness away,” Fulton said. “Take something away that they can hold on to from the book.”
But Fulton and Martin say their work certainly doesn’t stop there. The two plan to continue to fight for equality, uplift communities of color, identify ways to police the police and help others heal through times of devastation.
“You don’t want it to be a moment you want it to be a movement,” Martin said. “You want it to go from a movement to making progress. You want it to go from making progress to making change ― and that’s what we’re all about, making change.”
The Huffington Post is a proud media partner of Chicago Humanities Festival’s two nights of conversation with Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, in collaboration with the DuSable Museum of African American History and the Chicago Urban League. For more information about how to attend, click here for the February 16th event and here for the February 17th event.