Sybrina Fulton Speaks on Importance of Black Jurors

It’s been a little over 10 years since the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin, but his mother is still making sure people say his name.

Sybrina Fulton was the keynote speaker at a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tribute, sponsored by the Urban League of Metropolitan. Hosted at St. Louis University, Fulton used her platform to express the importance of people of color sitting in the juror seats and voting.

She believes if there were more jurors of color, her son’s killer would be behind bars. “I didn’t understand how the jurors didn’t understand that, that was a 17-year-old, that was unarmed, that was minding his own business,” Fulton said, as reported by STL NPR.

Sybrina’s son, Trayvon Martin, was gunned down by George Zimmerman in 2012, drawing international attention and protests. While Martin was walking home from the store, Zimmerman followed, confronted, shot, and killed the 17-year-old, claiming Martin was armed and he feared for his life.

An all-female jury found Zimmerman not guilty. Since then, his mother and brother Jahvaris opened the Trayvon Martin Foundation. The foundation helps brings awareness to senseless gun violence, supporting groups and initiatives like Circle of Mothers, scholarships, STEM education programs, a youth empowerment summit, and more.

The university presented Fulton with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

During the fireside chat with Urban League president and CEO, Michael McMillan, Fulton reminisced about her son, calling him “loveable.” “He was always there with a smile. He was always there with hug. He was just coming into his own,” Fulton said, according The St. Louis American. She continued, saying that her work isn’t just for her son’s legacy but those before him and for the nation to stick together. “It reignited a nation to stick together and come together in unity, and force us to look at the evils of this world.”

McMillian brought the conversation back around, reminding the audience why having a conversation of this caliber during MLK weekend is so important. “We have the gift however, of Dr. King’s hope and Dr. King’s vision … hope motivates us to work together as a university within the St. Louis community, to broaden access to education and to healthcare.”

The St. Louis American reported that Fulton hoped her words would get people of color to understand that there are more than just presidential elections. Local elections and volunteering is just as important. “The justice system was just not fair to us. It was called ‘The Trayvon Martin trial’ but Trayvon Martin was not on trial. This was not about a hoodie [that Martin was wearing when being pursued by Zimmerman,] it was only because of the color of his skin.”