Sybrina Fulton & Tracy Martin - Honoring Trayvon Martin with "Rest in Power" - Extended Interview

January 30, 2017 - Sybrina Fulton & Tracy Martin 01/30/2017 Views: 21,185

"Rest in Power" authors Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin shed light on the life of their late son Trayvon Martin and talk about the foundation they set up in his name. (9:58)

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Please welcome Sybrina Fultonand Tracy Martin.

(applause and cheering)

Thank you so much...for being on the show.

Uh, I got to tell you.

I read this book, and, like,

every single piece of this book

is somethingyou want to remember.

Every line, every paragraph.

It is a powerful,powerful story,

but a lot of peoplemay not realize this.

For all intents and purposes,

the Black Lives Matter movementwas born

through the horrible tragedyof the death of your son.

When you look back at that,and when you write this book,

it almost feels likeyou're reminding people,

"Don't forget. He was morethan just the politics.

He was a boy."

-Is that whatyou were trying to do? -Correct.

I think, for the most part, um,we wanted to, um,

have people visualizewho Trayvon was.

We say it in the book thatwe didn't get a chance to...

In the court system,we didn't have a chance

to actually bea character witness for him,

so, the book goes in detail

about just who he wasto Sybrina,

who he was to myself,who he was to our family.

And the book isa powerful book.

It just goes...

It goes deeperthan just being a news story.

It goes... It comesfrom a parent's point of view.

When you...

when you see a story,a story of Trayvon Martin...

I mean, I rememberwhen it was unfolding.

I was shocked at how quicklythe news moves on.

I was shocked at how quicklyit becomes a talking point,

as opposed to a person.

Does it ever feel like

it has moved on for you?

Well, no, it doesn't.

Even though the calendar saysthat it's been five years

since Trayvon was shotand killed,

it doesn't feel likefive years in my heart.

It feels likeit recently happened.

And so, um,it's not a story for us.

It's a tragedythat happened in our lives,

-so we are livingthis tragic story... -Yeah.

...much like a lotof the other parents

who are going through, um,kids...

that lost their kidthrough senseless gun violence.

I just wanted to read, um...

It was... I mean, like I say,there were so many bits

that hit me here,but this passage...

"We tell the storyin the hope

"that'll continue the calling

"that Trayvon left for usto answer,

"and that it might shine a pathfor others

"who have lost or will losechildren to senseless violence.

"We tell it in the hopefor healing,

"for bridging the dividethat separates America

"between races and classes,

"between citizensand the police.

"Most of all,we tell it for Trayvon,

"whose young souland lively spirit guide us

every day in everything we do."

What I...

I spent so long just lookingat this paragraph

over and over againwhen you said,

"We tell it in the hopeof healing

"and bridging the dividethat separates America

between races and classes."

How are you still ableto feel that

when most peoplein this situation

would only be ableto feel rage?

Um, one of the thingsthat we understood early on

was that this happenedto Trayvon,

but it's so much biggerthan Trayvon.

We just feel like

anybody's teenagercould be Trayvon Martin.

And, so, we just can't make it,

and keep our focusjust on Trayvon.

And so the moving-forward part,the healing part,

is about other children.

We certainly know that Trayvonis not gonna come back

to this Earth.

You know, we know thathe's resting in peace in Heaven.

-Hence the name: Rest in Power. -Mm-hmm.

But at the same time, we feellike we have to do our part

to help other children.

You... you talk about thatin the book,

and before the show, you know,some members of the audience

were talkingabout how to mobilize

in the face of adver...adversity,

how to start a movementthat you may not have any clue

on how to start.

You were essentiallyin that position.

How do you go from being parentsto really being the fuel

that starts one ofthe most powerful movements

America has ever seen?

I think it starts from...from our upbringing.

I think it starts with the lovethat we have for our child,

the love that we havefor our children,

and-and the faiththat we have in God.

Uh, first and foremost,if we weren't as rounded...

well-rounded in our faith,

we could have easilyjust fallen off the edge.

But when you... any timeyou're dealing with grief,

you definitely have emotions,and your emotions can take you

to places thatyou don't want to go.

Um, but just out of the loveand the respect for our child,

um, and we cho... we choseto take the high road,

so to speak, in his death.

And-and we knowthat this is more...

this is bigger than Trayvon,this is about many other kids

that are across this country,and while we're here,

we're gonna dowhat is in our power

to stop other familiesfrom losing their children

to the same violence.

When you experiencewhat you had to experience

with Trayvon's life, and death,

and... when you sat therefor the verdict,

is there a momentwhere you feel like...

the whole system is against you?

We actually leftthe courtroom, um,

before the verdict was read.

Um, we leftand we headed back to Florida,

and we were not in the courtroomduring the time

that they read the verdict.

Um...

at some point in time, we hadfaith in the justice system.

I will say that.

I don't knowif it was because we were naive,

or we just wanted the outcomethat we wanted.

You know, uh,which was to hold the person

who shot and killed Trayvonaccountable for what he did.

You know?But, um, at the same time

we had faithin the justice system.

We do not have faithin the justice system now.

And we feel likethe justice system has failed

our 17-year-old.

And that's-that's...another thing is,

a lot of people...maybe not forget,

but it feels like people putthe face and the name,

but they forget just the boy.

Just the boyon the other side of the story.

Is it true that Trayvonsaved your life?

Yes. Um, he was aboutnine years old at the time,

and we go into detailabout it in the book.

Um, he was a...he was an advocate...

-I mean, he wasa loyal football player, -Yeah.

and, um-- it's funny,'cause we'd go to the park,

and he'd stay on the park from7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at night.

And when we got ready to leaveafter his game,

I asked himdid he want something to eat,

and he just wanted to go home.

And so, uh, we went home,and as soon as we got home

he decided that he was hungry,

and so I decided to cook ussomething to eat.

Both of us was tired.

Um, we...I put the grease on the stove.

I decided to do some chickenand fries, something quick.

And both of us fell asleep.

And I woke up abouttwo or three hours later,

uh, went in the kitchenand the stove was on fire,

the cabinets was on fire.

And I just tried to smother

the pot of grease, uh,with a towel.

And what it did, it drugthe entire pot of grease down,

uh, on my legs.

And so I kind of blacked outfrom the, from the burns,

and I woke up calling, you know,calling his name.

And he ended up waking up,and at nine years old,

he drug me out of the house,

uh, went back into the house,

and-and he retrieved the phoneand called 911.

And so in the bookI go into detail

as far as... it hurt,

for knowing that he savedmy life,

for me not to be able to bethere February 26th

to save his life.

And so, um, he's my hero.

And he's-he's everything to me,and-and so, uh,

we just vow to continueour fight for him,

and never give up.

(applause)

I'm gonna read, um...

one last piece.

I, honestly, could readalmost all of this,

it's so beautiful.

But it's towardsthe end of the book,

and you say, um...

"So lastly, I just want to tellyou about the foundation

"that we have createdin Trayvon's name,

"because the verdictis not going to define

"who Trayvon Martin was.

"We will define his legacy.

"We will define who he is

and what he was all about."

It seems easy to understand,

but what does that phrase,

what does that passagemean to you?

It means that we did not wantthe social media,

we didn't want the news,

we didn't want other attorneys

who did not know Trayvonto tell who Trayvon was.

We wanted to be able,as parents,

as the spokespersonsfor Trayvon Martin,

we want to be able to tellwho he was,

and what we will do next

in order to further his legacy,

and-and to further the powerin his name.

We know...

just like withany other teenager,

that he was not perfect.

We never proclaimedhim to be perfect.

But at the same time,he was ours.

He belonged to us.

And we feel like our life

was interrupted by this tragedy.

And so we have vowed

to make sure that we doeverything in our power

to make surethat his name lives on,

and that we makepositive change.

I cannot thank you enoughfor being here.

(applause)

The book is an inspiration.

Trayvon's life and deathwill be an inspiration.

And I thank you so muchfor your time.

-Thank you for writing this.-Thank you. -Thank you.

Rest in Power will be available tomorrow.

Do yourself a favorand get it.

Sybrina Fulton andTracy Martin, everybody.