Trayvon Martin’s parents in town to condemn violence
BY TINA SFONDELES Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org May 26, 2012 2:06PM
The parents of Trayvon Martin, killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida, appeared at a news conference Saturday, May 26, 2012, in Chicago. In this photo, Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump addresses the news media as Trayvon's mother, Sybrina Fulton, stands at left. Behind them is Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Father Tracy Martin was also at the conference. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times
Updated: July 3, 2012 11:25AM
Fighting back tears, the parents of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin stood beside the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and relatives of Chicago area murder victims on Saturday to stress the need to end “senseless gun violence.”
“We are the voice of Trayvon Martin,” Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton said.
“He’s not here to speak for himself so we as his parents have decided instead of sitting back and not doing anything, this is what we have decided to do, to help our community and to help other parents.”
As she spoke about her son, Fulton also detailed her family’s Justice for Trayvon Foundation, which helps teens identify signs of racial profiling. She also called on Congress to amend Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which allows a person in fear of bodily harm to use force, even deadly force, in the face of a perceived threat.
The unarmed hoodie-clad Martin was allegedly killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla. on Feb. 26, sparking nationwide protest and cries of injustice against African Americans.
Zimmerman, who is awaiting trial on a second-degree murder charge, has claimed self-defense and said he only fired because Trayvon Martin attacked him.
On Saturday, Tracy Martin recalled the day he learned his son was gunned down.
By law, the Florida-based county’s morgue couldn’t let the elder Martin see the body. Instead, he was forced to identify his son by gruesome crime scene photos.
“As any of you know as parents, or family members of slain victims, to look at a crime scene photo, it’s very disturbing,” Tracy Martin said at the Rainbow PUSH headquarters, 930 East 50th Street.
“...That was certainly very disturbing to just see that picture of my son on the ground dead. That will be ingrained in my memory for the rest of my life.”
Jackson said it’s time to “stop the killing,” pointing out that nearly 30,000 people in the country die from gun violence each year.
He also addressed recent reports that showed Trayvon Martin had trace amounts of marijuana in his system, saying it had nothing to do with his death.
“It’s the fact that he was profiled and pursued,” Jackson said. “...It’s just a clear cut case of what happened.”
The civil rights leader Saturday was also joined by relatives of other murder victims, including the family of Darnell Donerson and Jason Hudson, the mother and brother of Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Hudson who were killed by the star’s estranged brother-in-law in 2008.
Jackson also stood with the loved ones of Rekia Boyd, a woman who was allegedly shot to death by an off-duty Chicago Police officer in March, and Stephon Watts, an autistic 15-year-old boy who was allegedly killed by police in his south suburban home after the boy’s father called for help in February.
Tracy Martin turned to Watts’ father on Saturday to offer advice in dealing with the loss: “From father to father, I feel your pain. I know that,” Martin said. “...Continue to have faith and just lean on your better half. And if you have doubt, lean on God.”