Sybrina Fulton says she was catapulted from her quiet life as a civil service worker into high-profile anti-violence activism when her son Trayvon Martin was slain five years ago by a neighborhood watch volunteer. While it helped lead to the Black Lives Matter movement that draws attention to senseless deaths of African-Americans, Fulton says more is needed, like changes in laws. So she says she's contemplating running for office and will decide within the next few months. She speaks March 29 in Kalamazoo.
"In order for me to see change, I have to be part of the change, and so I want to be part of the change," Fulton tells WMUK Local Morning Editon Host Earlene McMichael on today's WestSouthwest, the public-affairs show on 102.1 FM, an NPR affiliate based at Western Michigan University. "I want to use my driving force. I want to use my experience that I have working with communities, working with the government, working in customer service, having a bachelor's degree. I want to use those things in order to make positive change not just in my community, but in this world.
"I feel I have no other choice but to be a part of the change," she says.
"I can't just sit back and look at other people and say, 'You need to change these laws and you guys need to change this' -- to my elected officials -- and put all the pressure on them. What am I going to do to be a part of the change? That's why I decided that that might be one of my options, to run for public office."
It was five years ago last month that Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old from the Miami area, was killed (click here for a timeline of the case). Fulton and Trayvon's father, Tracy Martin, have just released the book, "Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin." Fulton tells McMichael that, while many books have been written about the prosecution of George Zimmerman and his acquittal in the death of her son over the years, she felt it was time to tell the family's side of the story.
On today's WestSouthwest, Fulton talks to McMichael about the book, as well as about her thoughts on the investigation into Trayvon's death, the Zimmerman trial, gun control, police, the criminal justice system, and the so-called "Stand Your Ground" laws, which allow citizens to use force in certain dangerous situations without having to retreat. Fulton also discusses the Trayvon Martin Foundation, a social-justice organization which provides awareness programs for youth and support services for mothers and fathers who've lost children to gun violence.
IF YOU GO
When: 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 29
Where: Chenery Auditorium, Kalamazoo
What: Sybrina Fulton delivers a keynote address as the culminating event in the Western Michigan University Lee Honors College's "Fulfilling America's Promise: Racial Equity and Justice" lecture series. Followed by WMUK's Earlene McMichael interviewing her onstage.
Cost: Free. No tickets required.
WestSouthwest airs 9:30 a.m. & 3:30 p.m. on Mondays & Thursdays on WMUK 102.1 FM, an NPR affiliate in Southwest Michigan.