Trayvon Martin's Mother Runs for Political Office in Florida

Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, announced that she is running for political office in Florida. Fulton became a social justice activist after her 17-year-old son was shot and killed in 2012. On May 18, she announced that she would challenge Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert III for a position on the District 1 Miami-Dade County Commission, the Miami Herald reported.

“My time as a public servant began 30 years ago at Miami-Dade County. Since 2012, I have advocated tirelessly to empower our communities and make them safer. But the work is not done,” Fulton wrote in an Instagram post. “I am proud to announce that I will run to represent District 1 on the county commission.”

Fulton began her public service career at Miami-Dade County’s General Service Administration in 1989. She worked in codes and for the Housing Development Agency, Fulton’s campaign website noted. The North Star has reached out to Fulton for comment about her announcement but did not hear back in time for publication.

“Our county must continue moving forward so our families are safe from violence, can afford to live in Miami-Dade, and have access to good paying jobs,” she said in a statement to the Miami Herald. “I am ready to take on these issues and many others in county government.”

Trayvon Martin was visiting his father and unarmed when he was shot to death by 28-year-old George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman was a neighborhood crime watch captain. In 2013, he was acquitted of second-degree murder for the teen’s death, The New York Times previously reported. Martin’s death sparked nationwide outrage and the Black Lives Matter movement.

“At first, I didn’t want to be the voice for Trayvon after he died, but I decided I had no choice. Now I am called to act and called to serve. It became clear to me there’s an opportunity to turn our family's tragedy into something positive for many other families,” Fulton said in a video about her campaign, which was posted to Instagram on May 20. “It took my son being shot down for me to stand up, but I am standing now.”

Following his death, Fulton became a full-time social justice activist and founded the Trayvon Martin Foundation in Miami Gardens, which raises awareness about gun violence. She endorsed Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election and spoke at the Democratic National Convention with the Mothers of the Movement group, an organization of Black women whose children were killed by police or gun violence, The New York Times reported.

“I didn’t want this spotlight. But will I do everything I can to focus some of that light on a path out of this darkness,” Fulton said during her speech at the convention, according to TIME. Last year, Lesley McSpadden — the mother of Michael Brown, who was killed in Ferguson by a white police officer in 2014 — announced that she was running for a seat on the city council in St. Louis, Missouri for the Ferguson 3rd Ward. She lost to candidate Fran Griffin in April, CNN previously reported.

"I did this because we were all devastated over what we saw almost five years ago. I was personally devastated because that's my son. My children witnessed the devastation. After watching Ferguson over these years, I've looked for progress and I haven't seen anything,” McSpadden previously told the news station. “My candidacy is the first step of building towards justice for my son and building towards a part of his legacy to make sure that my son did not die in vain."

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.