At the beginning of this month, I spent a weekend with Trayvon Martin‘s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. While they tried their best to relax and take a breather from all the stress surrounding the death of their son, they could not mask the agony that comes from having a child murdered and still awaiting justice.
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I couldn’t help but look into Sybrina’s eyes and see her bleeding pain. When I returned home to my 13-year-old son Tarique, I held him so tight, to the point where he looked at me to see what was wrong. I went into my bedroom, closed the door and wept because I realized that in just a few years I could very well bury my only son for no reason, and his killer could be so cold as to say it “was God’s plan.” I kept thinking, “NOT MY BABY!” But young Trayvon was OUR baby, and we must speak for him.
George Zimmerman, the man charged in Trayvon’s shooting death, gave an “exclusive interview” earlier this week with Sean Hannity. In what can barely be described as an interview (more like a scripted convo where he was practically being fed the answers), Zimmerman said he didn’t regret carrying a gun, didn’t regret getting out of his car and pretty much took no responsibility for his own actions. He painted Trayvon as some sort of thug who ran up on him and attacked him, as opposed to the fact that Zimmerman himself initiated the entire situation because he thought he saw someone “suspicious.” It was Zimmerman who profiled Trayvon, it was Zimmerman that had the gun (as he liked to put it), and it was Zimmerman that shot and killed an unarmed child who was carrying Skittles and an iced tea.
As a mother, I cannot even begin to imagine what it must have been like for Tracy and Sybrina to listen to that interview. To have to hear the man charged with the murder of your son say he did nothing wrong, and that he wished he wasn’t “put into a position” where he had to take a life was insulting, outrageous and ludicrous to them and to any one of us with a heart. While Zimmerman tries to raise money and paints himself as somehow the victim, people cannot forget that an innocent boy was MURDERED. TWO PARENTS BURIED THEIR CHILD. And this man wasn’t even arrested for weeks.
Sometimes when cases become this big, or a situation receives a lot of attention, we lose sight of what really happened. It’s easy for Zimmerman to sit there and tweak the story any which way he wants because there’s nobody here to counter his version of the truth. Trayvon Martin is dead. He will never be able to sit down for an exclusive interview. He will never be able to grow up, go to college, get married, have babies of his own or have a successful career. He will never be able to tell his adoring parents that he loves them again, because he was killed on his way home.
Trayvon isn’t here to tell us what happened that night, so we must make it our duty to speak for him and the other voiceless victims in our society. Whether you are Black, White, Latino, Asian, Native American, or other, it does not matter; just imagine if Trayvon was your son.
Justice can and will prevail for the sake of Trayvon, his parents and all of us. And we will not stop speaking until it does.