see the changes you want in the world, they say, you
must actively engage.
is why the parents of Trayvon Martin — who was shot
and killed five years ago by George Zimmerman in
Sanford, Florida, as the unarmed Miami Gardens teenager
was returning from the store with an Arizona Watermelon
Fruit Juice and a bag of Skittles — are considering
running for office.
want to make positive change, and the only way to make
positive change is if we’re part of the change,"
says Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, a Miami native
who worked for Miami-Dade County at the time of the
shooting. "The question was posed: Should we run
for office? We’d consider it. We’re doing our
research right now. It’s not something we’ll do
right away. We’re looking at different offices in
local government, in the state of Florida, in the White
House, so we can see where we could be most
and ex-husband Tracy Martin divorced in 1999 but have
remained close, particularly after Travyon’s 2012
death, which bound them in ways they could never have
imagined. Forced to work together to demand justice for
their son — Zimmerman was not immediately arrested
after the shooting, which sparked a national controversy
and protests — they are inextricably linked by
tragedy. Now they have collaborated on "Rest in
Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin"
(Spiegel & Grau, $26), a personal and deeply
emotional account of their son’s death that covers the
events that led to the shooting, the national outcry
over the sluggish police investigation into the crime
and the eventual 2013 trial, at which Zimmerman was
found not guilty.
book reveals raw moments of pain and disbelief. There
are chilling flashes of hindsight. "At first, I
didn’t like the hoodie and would tell him to take it
off," Fulton writes about the jacket that would
become a symbol of racial injustice. "Hoodies weren’t
in style when I was growing up. But Trayvon, sure he was
making a fashion statement, would rarely remove it. So
once I realized that all the kids were wearing them, and
that wearing one wouldn’t mark him for trouble, I was
okay with it."
in Power" plays out against the rise of the Black
Lives Matter movement and the transformation of Fulton
and Martin from ordinary parents into full-time
activists. "I am one of the mass of Americans
living an anonymous life of infinite complexities in the
struggling suburb of an American city — one of the
unheralded people whose weeks go by in a predictable
rhythm of work and school, church and picnics, week
after week, from cradle to grave," Fulton writes in
the book’s introduction.
after the shooting, privacy vanished. Fulton and Martin
were forced to face the media, demanding 911 tapes the
Sanford Police Department refused to release and calling
for an arrest and trial for Zimmerman. Later in 2012
they started the Trayvon Martin Foundation, a
not-for-profit social justice organization based at
Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, which is
devoted to ending gun violence, education and
in a politically unsettled 2017, the book tour has
shuttled them around the country again. They’ve
appeared on network news shows and "The Daily Show
with Trevor Noah."
still haven’t really had time to sit back and grieve
the loss of our son," Tracy Martin admits.
"You never get used to being an advocate. Every
time there’s a tragedy, we get a call. It’s like
living our nightmare all over again. You never get used
to it. It’s hard to mend your own heart when you’re
trying to mend other people’s hearts.
got to understand: being a parent of a deceased child
due to some senseless act of gun violence — no one
wants to be part of that fraternity. We look forward to
trying to help people. That’s what this is all about:
trying to pursue justice and cope. People ask ‘How do
you get over this?’ You never get over it. You deal
with it, and you continue to be strong for your family
and the people around you. … We’ve accepted the
role. I can truly say we don’t understand the
relationships between other parents and their children.
I can’t say I know how another parent feels. But I
know what they’re going through."
who campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2016, says she and
Martin aren’t anti-gun. They just advocate stricter
controls like background checks and the closing of
loopholes that allow Americans to order guns online or
at gun shows.
need to get to a place where people who own guns are
responsible gun owners," she says. "It’s not
about being for or against guns. It’s about everybody
week Martin told USA Today that he feared the Trump
administration would put racial justice further out of
reach: "You have those that are for uniting the
country and you have those that want to be apart,"
he said. "And what this new presidency does, it
takes those that want to be apart and it puts them right
in the position where they can say, ‘We’ll change
the laws, and we’ll make it tougher.’ "
Fulton declines to call out the administration.
does not matter who’s in the White House — that
person must work for everybody," she says. "We
do know there needs to be some laws changed and some
who would have been 22 on Feb. 5, is more than just
their son now. He’s an icon, a symbol, a cry and
demand for social justice. What would he think of all
think he would be very proud that so many people support
him," Fulton says. "I think he’d be very
proud of his family and friends and just what his image
means to them. It also makes us want to continue the