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Mother of Trayvon Martin discusses mental health advocacy at MLK event


Sybrina Fulton explains her hope in young people to advocate for Black lives over Webex on Jan. 20, 2021.

With pictures of her sons framed around her, Sybrina Fulton spoke of her hopes for a bright future during Central Michigan University's Martin Luther King Jr. week.

While in sorrow after the death of her son, Trayvon Martin, she found herself at odds with her faith.

"I fought with God for a long time, saying that he picked the wrong kid, he picked the wrong mom," Fulton said. "Because, at the end of the day, the facts still remain that Trayvon was 17 and unarmed against a man with a loaded gun that was 28 years old."

As the keynote speaker for the Multicultural Academic Student Services' MLK week, Fulton talked about keeping herself happy in wake of her son's death, helping other families who were victims of gun violence and her hopes on Jan. 20.

Fulton said she found it tough to balance her feelings in the wake of grief, but she had to give herself permission to be happy and to be sad.

"We feel like every day should be a good day, and it's just not like that," Fulton said. 

One of her involvements is reaching out to mothers who have suffered due to gun violence through her non-profit, the Trayvon Martin Foundation. When she has those bad days, she can't always be there for other mothers all the time.

"I just cannot go right now," she said. "I need to get to the family. I need to wrap my arms around the mom (whose child has died), but I just can't."

If she pushes herself to go to the family "while feeling a certain way inside", Fulton said, she can "cry more than the mom that lost a child."

She said she works around her bad days but she gives herself the ability to be happy by watching movies, eating ice cream, or going to a beach in Miami.

Even through all of this trial and tribulation, Fulton hashope for police reform with the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

"I don't believe the new president or vice president are saving graces, but I do believe that they have the capacity and they have the mindset and heart to do what is right," Fulton said.

Though the future looks bright in Fulton's eyes, she doesn't want the deaths of Black people to just be a "story," she said.

"When the camera goes to the next story, we still have to live with this," Fulton said. "Check on those families. Stand up for those families. And make sure you're not just chasing the next story."