In the wake of the shooting in Florida that left unarmed teen Trayvon Martin dead and saw his shooter walk free for more than 40 days, his grieving parents were reluctantly shoved into the spotlight as awareness about and controversy surrounding the case gained traction across the United States.
It seemed all news related to Trayvon Martin was subsumed by the efforts to arrest George Zimmerman, and some counter-controversy about gun control and whether Zimmerman had any right at all to fire on the teenager had he felt threatened. At times it felt like these issues were all anyone spoke of- and Martin’s parents, while present and often referred to, seemed to nearly take a backseat despite the fact that the strange circumstances surrounding the case most likely compounded their grief in ways most of us can’t imagine.
Now that Zimmerman has finally been arrested and charged with second-degree murder, the justice system’s sometimes frustratingly-slow wheels have been set into motion, and Martin’s killer could very well be convicted at trial. As the dust settles, Martin’s mom has spoken to the press about how she managed to get through the difficult period in which she has not only been coping with the loss of her 17-year-old son Trayvon, but also countless media appearances during what is undoubtedly the most difficult time in her life.
According to the Boston Herald, Sybrina Fulton says activism in the days and weeks following Trayvon’s death have helped her move forward- she says:
“I am not doing this for fun. I am doing this for a purpose. I know the purpose I am doing it for, and it pushes me forward, giving me the force to go ahead and put my clothes on and do it.”
Fulton- whose son had a wrist tattoo bearing his mother’s name- has referred to a Biblical verse that she says has helped her grieve, “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Speaking of how it relates to her grief, she explains:
“We had a lot of questions. I questioned, ’Why Trayvon?’ …So many people’s children are killed, and their names are not known all over the world. Trayvon’s name is known all over the world. I had to go back and reread that scripture and lean not to my own understanding.”
Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Martin family, says that he doesn’t believe that Fulton has even been able to fully grieve the loss of her son. He says:
“I still don’t think Sybrina has completely accepted that Trayvon is never coming back… At some point it will hit her. The media interviews are a constant reminder that this is real. What distinguishes Sybrina is that she’s an educated woman who tries to think before she responds. She has an inner voice, and I’m blown away by the things she says.”
Fulton is currently on leave from her job of 23 years at the Miami-Dade Housing Authority.