tv After Words The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin 3 CSPAN December 29, 2017 8:01pm-9:01pm EST
trayvon martin. sybrina fulton and tracy martin discussed his son's life and death and their experiences with the judicial system and they're both "rest in power: the enduring life of trayvon martin". they are joined the conversation why washington post national reporter, wesley lowery. the author of they can't kill us all. ferguson, baltimore in the new era in america's racial justice movement. this weekend marks the fifth anniversary of trayvon martin's death. >> thank you guys both again for joining me today to talk about the book that you wrote about the death and life of your son, trayvon martin. i want to start off by first noting that it has been five years. it is almost hard to believe. it feels longer than that and shorter than that. what do you guys, what do you think now five years later as your visit life in these traumatic events that happened to your family five years ago? >> each year when his birthday comes around, which was february 5, sunday. it just reminds us that what we
are missing out on. we didn't get a chance to watch him graduate from high school or see him go off to college or go to the prom or things like that. and so, i think, you know, i think all the time about how many kids he would have had and who he would have married and things like that. so, at 22, it is fairly young but he would have been graduated from college like his brother did. >> i think about all of the good times that we shared with him and those memories cannot be taken away from us. we definitely as parents, you always want to see your children do something productive in life and so, we definitely would have been hoping for college, and other charges graduate from our kids and going on just to see his life progress. seeing him become a man. seeing him raise his own
family. that is an things that we think about all of the time, the things that we miss.>> you got the question, who was trayvon martin? and one of the things i really enjoyed about the book it's learning more about him. how he was raised and what his interests were. what do you think, there's so much has been written and said about your son. i may have said this a million times. but tell us about the trayvon martin that you knew? >> that is one of the reasons that we wrote the book because we wanted our book of you, the parents point of view. a lot of times the books that were written, they did not even know trayvon. we want to put the name with the person, with the teenager, with an average teenager. and so, trayvon was very affectionate. he did not care where he was.
it could have been in the grocery store. it could have been at his school or at the park. he wanted a hug and a kiss, he got a hug and a kiss! he did not mind people who was around him. you know like a lot of times when they get, when they are little we always kiss them. whether they are girls or boys. as a mother we always kiss them. but as he got older, it did not faze him that people were around. and said he is very affectionate.he felt he wanted to do everything for me. that is where the name cupcake came from. and that is when he did. he was a good kid. he just was a good person to be around. kind of funny. you know, but just you know, just really affectionate. >> one thing i think you do so well in this book is walking through what the experience must be for a parent. and when questioned, have a long list of names. cases that have boiled up and
gone national. and as a reporter that covers those often, i was feeling coverage messes with some of what that experience must be. to be that first day, and the phone calls and remembering that trayvon martin is not there. what do you think, i think they both tell the story but you also tell what it is like to be a grieving parent. one thing that i noticed we talk about this, you talk about gun violence broadly. not just those killed by police were killed by vigilantes. also, i know in your book, circle of mothers and other groups. people who have been killed by street gun violence and that type of thing. can you all talk about, being sunday elder statesman, unfortunately, of this group of parents. what was it like for you all as well as we hear from other parents of this unique experience and losing a son or daughter? >> is very challenging but find
after a traumatic experience with other parents that have lost children to senseless gun violence or any type of violence. you find out how strong people are. and we as parents, we are not built to bury our children. and so to bury her child is really, it does something to you emotionally. we know that we all have to, we all die. we all die but is the fact that, we as parents, we invested 17 years into trayvon. and not to see that life progress any further is really hurtful. but in conversation with other parents, i personally always tell them, that i know you're going through. but i don't understand your hurt. because each parent has a different relationship with their child. and so, for instance, mike
brown. i understand his parents are going through. but i do not understand their hurt because i do not know the relationship that they had with michael. so under the relationship i had with trayvon. i know the relationship that sybrina had with trayvon. so i understand her hurt. but we, it is a -- is a fraternity so to speak that no one really wants to be part of. we did not sign up for this. since it has been thrust on us, we understand that there is a bigger picture. there is something more important than just the death of our son. their other lives out there that we are trying to impact and we are trying to save. just being the elder statesman, so to speak, i think that we have taken on the role and we understand the role of what it is and how it is to assist other families.
>> one thing i thought was fascinating in this book and part of the structure of how it was written, one chapter with sybrina and one chapter with tracy going back chronologically telling the story together. as i read this, read the story of trayvon martin or the story of his death. but also the story of two partners. two people working together even though they were not married at the time but were partners in raising children together and who were, while still functionally close to him and brought even further back together. can you talk a little bit about the relationship between you all that you have had interns of being the lead spokespeople for your son. both in the pursuit of justice and what to do with the foundation and whatnot and what it was like to have this body together as the parents of this child. >> i think the common focus that we have were chosen. and so we knew that even though
our relationship did not work out that we still had to have a relationship for the children. and we stayed focused on being a parent. it made it easy for us to raise and because we wasn't fighting back and forth.you know, we kind of got along like okay, you pick him up. and a lot of people think it is james and we got along so well because i guess a lot of divorced couples don't get along. and so, i think we have always just been civilized to each other you know, we don't always get along, you know? [ for the most part, you know, we come together for the betterment of the kids. and so, we managed to do that in spite of what we were going through and we decided that it is best for the children. >> of course. sybrina, when trayvon was
killed he was still up in miami and tracy you are not you are in sanford. one passage in the book, i think this was very telling but also emotional moment. there was this, you talk in the book about not even necessarily wanted to go. not knowing if you wanted to go. being heartbroken unit and you can imagine any mother. i think of my own mother. and what she would be going through and what she would be thinking. i remember being struck by this passage. as we were pulling into the complex where trayvon martin was killed. he turned the corner, and for the first time i can see the community where my son was killed. the retreat was a nice clean development. besides the big scape i saw something that should be. at memorial. i had to look twice to see that it was for my son. there were footballs, signs, cards and letters with the name trayvon on them.
every attribute to my angel. the memorial, the outpouring from strangers touched me deeply in a way that places did not pay the retreat was the crime scene but the memorial was a gift.strangers telling us through these cards and small tokens of childhood that they knew the body on the ground was a boy. a human, a life. and his killing would not be forgotten. was at the moment that you realized that other people are going through this week with you? and what did it feel like to see both of this memorial and as you go through the rallies and activism, to see the support that you start gaining from the nation? >> i think it was the first public sign that people were supporting us but it did not give me a gauge and how many people were in support of it. that did test me because i was not expecting it. to quote - that in nc the memorial, it just reminded me
that this is the spot. this is the area.this is the surroundings that he was in. because i never been there. but i think what really hit me hard was, in new york, when we were at the rally when we saw the amount of people that came out to support us. the memorial touched my heart. but the million hoodie rally touched not only my heart but my mind and it made me you know, think about how many other people this happened to and nobody heard about their name. and so i think that the name, trayvon martin, not only represents who he was but all young black and brown boys and some girls as well that have been killed and nobody has been
held accountable. and so, it definitely was an important part of the movement. an important part of the journey. i just have so much respect for people that supported us. >> tracy, you write it one point that strangers descended on our cause like angels. and it was fascinating in addition to see this view of what this was as a parent but also to see some of the players who come into play overtime. your first conversations with, whether it be jasmine rand or natlie jackson or ben crump. for others. you talk a little bit of think about very often, for a casual viewer, a casual reader, someone who just knows the name, trayvon martin. they know the case loosely. they do not necessarily see all of the pieces that come into play in terms of, they see a
rally but do not necessarily know who it is involving. they wonder how does son talk about some of these people who perhaps, you are the basis of your son's legacy. but the other people that play roles turning what could have been the death of a lamentable did not know about to a name that rings out across the nation. >> i think we owe majority of the recognition, that the name, trayvon martin received from a family member whose name is patricia jones. because without patricia, we would not have been in contact with the attorney, ben crump who played a role in bringing justice and like to our case. and so, when i first talked to the attorney, ben crump, he automatically told me that they would be an arrest when
explained that trayvon was killed walking home with candy, skittles. the first thing he said was that they would be an arrest and i continued to call him and call him. and he finally answered the phone and i told him, said he had not made an arrest appeared in the attorney basically stopped what he was doing and immediately started putting things into place. the first lawyer that we actually saw was jasmine rand who came down to sybrina place. it was strange when we met her. because you know our son was killed by a nonblack and so, the first person that walked into the house to represent the
family is a white woman. and so, you know, it kind of threw me for a minute. and then she opened her mouth, her conversation began as we will do everything that we can to assist you guys. and the attorney, ben crump will come down and speak with the spirits and jasmine played an important part. she and ben crump played a huge part. they still play a huge part in the things that we do. and ryan played a huge part. and definitely natlie jackson. and with all of those components working together and their working day in and day out. and natlie had inside scoops with the newsroom. that really just helped us out and in a big way. and so, those definitely were major components to our
strategy to get justice, to get an arrest. >> so, what also struck me was the way that you almost had to campaign for justice.and in various different phases of the campaign. i think it is easy to consolidated all now years later. but in the book we see campaign after campaign started frankly, with the release of these 9-1-1 tapes in the first place. this is before you were asking why has this man not be arrested? but one of the first big things that the attorney pushes for and you are all pushing for public is, let's release the tapes. and here the interaction. what was going through your head at this moment in time where you know you have been played the tape one time quickly in the initial interview. the public has not heard and the whole family has not heard them yet. that moment where you're trying to figure out, there is some evidence that might help us decode what happened to our son. why want to give it to us? what were you thinking in the first few days and weeks as you trying to get the 9-1-1 tapes out? >> well, for the most part,
when we realized they were not going to do is the 9-1-1 tapes, adamantly went to come our nation was that there was a cover-up. there is something going on that, because they were fighting so hard not to release the tapes. and all we are saying is, release the tapes. let the public hear it. and there was just so much of a fight. we had to file an injunction to get the tapes released and the mayor of stanford, he finally decided to release the tapes. but it was a fight to get them released. we knew that there was something on those tapes that kind of characterized what happened that night. >> sybrina, you write about the first time at the san ford city hall listening to these tapes of the 911 callers who were witnesses to the altercation.
and you write about the pain and difficulty eliciting them yourself. but one thing that struck me is the mayor coming out here afterward and providing you some comfort and you write that he had heard these tapes as a father would. he chuckled about what your relationship was with some of these, whether this be elected officials or police and officials? i think there is an assumption sometime that must be a full adversarial relationship. and there are certain times when you earn your attorneys recall for certain actions. but i was also struck by these moments of humanity where people would not necessarily assume the mayor of sanford to be an ally or comforter of yours. there was a moment of humanity. >> i think during the whole time a lot of people in sanford were torn between if they stand up for their community, or they support what is right. and i think with the mayor, his
humane side of peeked out. even though he seemed to be this strong, you know, governing quality for sanford, he is still a father. and he probably thought about trayvon being his own son. and so, that touched him a great deal but not only him, there were also -- we went to the trial they were also court deputies and police officers that were there that would tell us that they are in support of us. you know, so it was like, you know, they were torn between what side they had to stand on. and we want people to stand on the right side. we want people to see trayvon as an unarmed b,17 old. which are the facts.
trayvon was not committing a crime. and we say that all the time. he was not carrying a weapon. even though the defense team brought in a slab of concrete and said that this was the weapon that he used and i mean, that is just simply ridiculous and then, you know, just with everything that went on, i think that, you know, it made people want to choose a side. but i think if you look at the facts, you know, trayvon wasn't paying attention to his surroundings. he was on the telephone. and it is clear that the killer of trayvon was asked not to pursue him. do not follow him. are you following him? he said yes. you can hear that he was clearly following him. and at some point in time, trayvon even ran. and this person just ran after him. so to me, i would feel like i am being 202-748-8201.
-- stalked even though they cannot bring it in at the trial, we know that is clear that this would happen. it sends a bad message to our young, our young men and women that you cannot even walk down the street on the telephone. you do not know whether to a faster workflow. we do not know whether you should speak or not speak. there are just so many things that they have to go through if they do not feel safe in their community and their own country. >> you write about this and there is this moment you know this to geraldo rivera tweet ways as the hoodie is the problem. if only he had not been wearing a hoodie, it would not have been killed. there is a line that says he could take the hoodie off but
he could not take his skin off. and i think that is what felt so compelling about the story. i was in college at the time still and i remember sitting in my college newspaper reading the articles written about this and thinking to myself, i grew up in the suburbs of cleveland. picking how many times the middle of the night was i walking around going to the corner store and always wearing a hoodie, constantly! and how easily could this have happened? you do not talk about that. the parents of jordan davis talk about this as well. this idea that there is a sin of black skin. that our children can do everything right. and that in this instance they -- there may still be a person judging them. you both talk about in the book, the evolution of your thinking. how initially, he both said is this really a race thing? how does that factor in? and the discomfort at the
beginning even with people using the term race. by the end, i appreciate this because you walk us through your thinking as he was seeing the parts of this case come together. and you say, what else could this have been? and in the hindsight of these years and with steady drumbeat and additional names being added, what role do you think race played in the death of his son? >> i think it played a major role. for one, it goes back to the 911 tapes. and they tried to, they are saying that it was one thing he said and we realize it was something else that the killer of our son was saying on the tapes. and he just had the perception that all black and brown young men were up to no good. he even said it in the tapes. this guy is up to no good. how can you be up to no good you're simply walking home from the store? and so, we definitely knew that race played a part. you know, we wanted it -- did
we want this to be an issue, a case where it was just and unjust killing? and so, we try to look at it from a dual lens and say, maybe race did not play a part. but the further we went along in the trial, and we saw it come out in the jury pool selection. we saw it come out in some of the things that the defense attorneys were saying. and so, by the end of the trial, definitely knew that it was about race. and race played a huge part in our son's death and anybody who says that race did not play a part, didn't even you know, did not watch the trial. >> and you are a black man as well. i think if there is an experienced very often when black men, they talk about experiences. as white audiences just do not
get it. they do not understand what it is like to be followed around in a store or to feel like they are stalked in this way by someone. or someone being suspicious of you by your presence. have you and trayvon had conversations about that as he was coming up? and what were your feelings? here you were watching your son go through this thing. even after his death, being cast in a certain way and stereotyped in certain ways. what were your feelings as a black man looking at your son being cast this way? it was hurtful knowing that we are for b,500 eliminated from slavery. just the thought of how people think about us and how they think that we are less than 100 percent human. and it is crazy just to know that i work with you, i pay the same taxes that you pay, i shop at the same stores you shop at. your perception of me is that
i am not good enough to stand in line with you. and so, it is very hurtful. especially when you have a 17-year-old they know you have invested a lot in and that you have taught him everything. you know, the dues and don'ts and the laws of the land. but just to have a person that does not know him, make comments about him and sort of demoralize him. it was hurtful but at the same time, we know that the things that they were saying were not true. because we knew who he was as not only as our son, but as an african-american young man. we knew who he was. >> so, the second phase, if the first was his death and the push for the 911 tapes. after the tapes were out the second phase was to you know this man has killed your son and he has been allowed to be
in his own bed and be free. this ongoing question of, are they going to finally charge him? this will go to a grand jury, will they bring it special prosecutor? can you walk through what that second set of push was? and again, with this idea that here you are, the parents of a young man that has been killed, essentially having to campaign for justice for your child. >> well, the whole time, that was our focus. our focus was to try to get justice for him. and so all of these obstacles were placed in our pack. i mean, what parent do you know that has a 17-year-old, that is something happens to them that they do not want answers? we are not asking for anything any other parent would not have wanted for their own child. people do not see that. a lot of times people do not see this because they are not going through those things. they would rather sit behind a
computer or complain about something that they really do not know anything about but -- i just got everything was a struggle. getting the information about what happened was a struggle. but it was only two people that were actually there and one of them is dead. and so, the other person is unbelievable. you cannot believe what this person says because of course, they want to stay out of jail. and so we had to challenge with getting answers from the sanford police department. tracy had to struggle with the medical examiner's just to get the body released. we had to, you know, we had to try to work with the state of florida to try to get them to pursue the case even harder. once the special prosecutor was assigned to the case. and it was just a constant struggle. the arrest was a struggle.
i mean everything that we've gone through, was a complete struggle. and this was during the time we were grieving. because this happened fairly soon after he was shot and killed. and so, what were trying to get answers, all of these things played a part but i think the most important thing was the fact that we had good legal representation from the office that gave us the advice and advantage that we need to because we did not know anything about this and we did not know what to do next and we kind of had a guideline to show us what we needed to do. and then some things, you know we probably did not listen to them on and wanted to do because we are so passionate about trying to get justice for trayvon. >> what was the feeling when the charges are finally announced? you know, you've got this whole period of time so quickly as
you say. and you find out that your son is killed. the front of the person that killed him is not been arrested. you fight for the tapes, you fight for arrest. you have a special prosecutor, you have a grand jury, and then finally this press conference has been called. and the man that killed your son is going to face these charges. what does that feel like? >> it was a good feeling knowing that there would be an arrest. and at that particular time, we still have faith in the florida judicial system. because it did make an arrest. i do not think if, had it not been for the special prosecutor i do not think an arrest would have been made had it gone to the grand jury he would have died there. and so, when the announcement came that they would be arresting him on second-degree murder charges, although we thought the charges should have been first degree, the arrest was made and we were at a place where we were hopeful.
but that was just an arrest. and it was just one part of the process. of course, we were looking for a conviction. had it been the shoe on the other foot, had trayvon been 28 years old into the 17-year-old white young man, we know they would have been an arrest without going through all of the loopholes that we went through. there would have been an arrest that night. that kid would've went to the morgue and trayvon would have went to someone's prison. we know that for sure. and that is just how the justice system works. you know, it is a no doubt when it comes to minorities. then it is let's get the benefit of the doubt to the killer is that of the victim when it comes to other people kelly minorities.
and the charges, the announcement of the charges, it was huge for us. and we were so hopeful. >> when did you lose some of that hope? one of the things i enjoyed in this book, and joy is not the right word because it is very taxing to redo the experience of these two parents sitting every day in the trial. you find out the person is killed their son is going to jail. and i appreciate you sharing with us the notes they had. essentially your reactions in real time. pieces of dialogue in the trial in the transcripts and you both present specific things in time.moments where you said, i don't know. i wish that officer would have been asked more specifically about this.and then the initial interview with george zimmerman. and he said he thought he could
get charge of manslaughter and now it may be he is not being pressed on that. i remember the notes from the last young lady to speak to trayvon before his death. and this interview, the cross-examination that goes for hours and hours. and you can see her getting frustrated. what was it like to be in that courtroom with both the person who killed your son as well as the ministers who were sitting behind you and around you and that feeling and the moment, was it a moment where it felt like we have come so close to achieving justice. we got this person charged who perhaps would not otherwise. was there a moment where you knew or felt that he is going to get off on this? he is not going to be convicted? >> there were times, that was my first trial. and so i am not familiar with trials. i just do not know the process. so they were times when i
listened and i noticed that when you have a private attorney, they can say and they do almost anything but we had the state of florida that was prosecuting the case and they do things by the book. and i do not even think people paid attention to that. at least sitting there, just witnessing the whole thing. it seems that they were able to do almost anything and say almost anything. but the state of florida often had like a process. they had procedures they had to follow. like okay, these are the perimeters that they would stay in. and they would not do anything that was outside of that. and so, i do not know. i do not know if it has anything to do with how much money you have. and who prosecutes the case. i know that, it just seems so unfair just sitting there. just listening to everything and one of the things that tracy always brings up is the fact that they never brought in
a character, any character witnesses for trayvon. nobody got a chance to know who he really was. we only listened to the defense painting a picture of who this person was that was shot and killed. somebody they had never saw before. so when they had never met. and basically did not know. their job was to get their client off. and that is what they did. by any means necessary. they did not really care about who he was. they did not really care about the parents. but sometimes you have to be careful what you do. especially when you have your own children. >> one thing you talk about is this intense media focus. there were leaks coming, and then the media had his school records which should be sealed because he is a juvenile. and then a question of was he on drugs? what's it feel like. i can remember a time when then they discovered his twitter page and then their questions.
and at the time i was a college student with two younger brothers who were in middle school and high school at the time. i know what their twitter pages look like. it felt almost as if the times that trayvon went on trial. at least with the public. doubt we were having this public grapple on whether he is a thug or an angel. >> also that we never proclaimed trayvon to be an angel until after his death. i want to make that clear. we always that he was an average teenager. average teenagers have ups and downs. they had good days and bad days. they have times in their hanging with a background and times were there hanging with the family. and so, those stories that we heard were hit and miss. some things were a little truth and then some of them were not
true even at all! you know, they had pictures floating around of trayvon and it wasn't even him! and you know, you know it is upsetting to have to go through that as a parent and just listen to all of the negative things people say. but the reason why all that was said to try to justify when somebody shot and killed an unarmed teenager. you cannot justify that. i don't care what it is. i don't care if he stole something out of the store. i don't care if he smoked weed or whatever! i do not care if he was suspended from school. he was my son and i loved him dearly. and he did not deserve to die. he did not deserve to die. and that is what people don't understand. regardless of who he was and is ups and downs. states, we all make them! nobody is perfect. it is easy for someone to sit back and say he did this.
he got suspended from school. because you get suspended from school, and you should be shot and killed? no!where does that come from? and that is because this country takes death and shooting and killing so nonchalantly. we have to be more mindful of death and how many people that person may affect just because of that senseless gun violence for that senseless act. because it did not have to happen! >> we know how the trial turned out. we know that there is no conviction. what was that like to have now sat through. you have been campaigning for justice for your son for a year or year and and a half! and it felt like a fight every step of the way. what is the feeling, you write about how you were not even there anymore when the announcement comes. you said, we had to go home.
you drove back and i believe you're watching at sybrina sisters house the announcement. what was going through your head? i know you had time before making public statements but what were you thinking those moments as you, while you may have suspected this was what would happen, we now knew that this part of it is closed. >> we knew once we left the courtroom, he knew there wasn't going to be a conviction. and so, we put our minds together and said that even though there will not be a conviction, we will not let this define who our son was. and so we did not want everyone to remember trayvon how he died. we wanted him to remember who he was. and so, i think once we left the courtroom we knew for a fact that we had an uphill battle. and that in order for us to
continue to stay in the battle, we would have to work harder than we ever worked to keep his name in the forefront to pull the cover off some of the injustices that are plaguing our community. and so, we knew we had our work cut out for us. and we vowed to continue to fight for justice. not only for trayvon but for other kids. i think when we left the apartment, we left with a sense of that we knew we were discouraged. but we knew, in order to navigate through the discouragement, that we had to stay strong, remain strong. and focus on not just being about trayvon. this is about everybody else's kids in all the other kids getting taken away from us. and so i just think that it made us realize that you can't
put all of your eggs in one basket. because sitting in that courtroom and trying to be helpful, you do put your eggs in one basket. and that basket was a conviction basket. and so, was that basket was emptied out and there is no conviction, it is what do we do now? and so like i said, we came back home and said okay, this is our next move. >> in a second i want to talk about the time since the trial and his death which is the focus of the book. you walk us through the years. before i moved to the more present day, one thing that is not in the book, that is absent very often, is the name of the man who killed your son. george zimmerman. we know that he has been in and out of the news. has there ever been any contact between you all and george
zimmerman? do you have any feeling towards himself? we know he is made public statements and done various things but what if you are linked to him forever in this way, for better or for worse, the death of your son. are there any feelings towards him still? >> i met the place i was in 2012. i am still at that place where i have anger in me. i would be less than a man if i told you that my position has changed. there is a lot of anger in me because he is taken something away from us that we can never get back. and we are linked together because of that. and the only thing that would detach that link is if our son was here. and so, i think that there is a lot of resentment.
there is a lot of hurt, a lot of pain builds up inside of me. what i ever want to sit down and dialogue with him? no, absolutely not! because there are emotions. i am a man first and foremost. and there are plenty of emotions that are still running deep in me just because of the love i have for my child. and that is just being a protective ãprotective over your child. i do not think i will ever get to a space in my life where i will be able to sit down and ask him why did you do this? he had a chance to explain why he did it. during the trial, and he did not. that was his chance to explain why he had taken our son away from us. and so, i am still at the same point. >> at one point in the book, i think it might be tracy. recounting a interview that you
did with reverend al sharpton. i think this before you're still trying to campaign to get george zimmerman arrested. the reverend said to you are you determined to hang in there no matter what?in your response was, until the day i die. i am a mother and i want justice my son. and i will not stop until i receive it. what does justice still looked like for you now may not years after the trial and what does this bike still look like you for justice for trayvon as well as justice for all of these other people? >> justice for me, is a little different from other peoples. justice for me would be trayvon back here. and if i could not get trayvon back, a life was taken. certainly a life should be given. so that is what justice looks like to me and i did not receive that. i know a lot of people feel like that you know, the person will get what is coming to
them. and i truly believe that. but at the same time it still hurts a great deal that we have so many people in this world that will shoot and kill somebody unarmed and then not be, that will be less than honest about what happens. and so, it bothers me a great deal. you know, it bothers me a great deal but i just tried to put my best foot forward and i don't try to think so much about who the person was that killed my son. i mean, my focus is on so many other different things. i think it is just a distraction when i take my focus off of what i need to be doing for my son. >> one thing that was interesting was that there were almost 2 separate four distinct moments in the movement that follows his death. the initial kind of codification of this idea, i am
trayvon. and it became clear around the time of the lack of conviction. at the same time of another trial and we see you know we have ferguson in cleveland and baltimore and the beginnings and conception of the black lives matter movement. and so i want to talk about these two different things. i think looking at this specific case of your son actually helps show us a lot of what happens in the years following. one of the first things i want to talk about though is, one of the initial speights people were engaged in around your son's death, was stand your ground laws. this idea they have laws that perhaps empowered george zimmerman to take his life and then perhaps empowered him to not be arrested that night. and then also impelled him to not be convicted later on. that issue i think has kinda fallen off of the main
conversation. it seems like a tough battle and it is unclear what the status of those are. a few years removed, what you think the status is of these kind of stand your ground laws and the fact that it is still on the books and simply states? >> i think the status stays the same. we saw this in the jordan davis case where clearly, jordan was you know in a vehicle and the individual who took his life, just felt as though, you know, they are playing loud music. let me shoot the car up and he had, he really had no explanation why. as to why he did it. only he said that he thought they had a gun in the car. and so, his defense was, he was going to use stand your ground. and just the notion that this is the mindset of some individuals that they can shoot and kill young black and brown boys and without any witnesses and can get away with it.
just thinking or knowing they can get away with it is certainly something we have to take a look at. what, what would it be gentle but with the momentum of that lobby if you had -- what with that law be? we should not wait until things start to happen. this is a bad law. let's change the law. we need to look at through different perspectives. >> is it discouraging? >> very discouraging. to know that these laws, the you know how many cases can you look at and say that this was an african-american man that use the stand your ground law on an african-american?
you know it is rare. even with police brutality. we do not see black officers brutalizing young white man. you do not see it. and so, definitely, there has to be a revision. a repeal or something with these laws. >> one thing i thought was interesting, another parallel to the broad focus. in this case there was a combination of older school activist like al sharpton or reverend jackson providing support. also young activists. groups like the dream defenders, a million hoodies united for justice. people that were not activists and hardening trayvon instead i'm dedicating my time in my life to that. it is similar to what we saw in the following years with ferguson and baltimore. you had people that were, and
login people say, that could have me so i will be in the street. what do you think this is about the moment we are in right now? that we are seeing young black people as well as all school black people that have been around the block a couple of times coming around to see justice for young men? >> i think a lot of people have always realized that we have not been treated fairly. it is just more obvious now. with all of the surveillance cameras and with everyone with camera phones and videotapes and everything. it is more, people are more aware than it is occurring. and so now you have police officers that are being charged. we have officers that are you know, going before a grand jury. those things did not happen before and now they are happening. there is definitely a move, it is just a slow move. it is almost like a turtle.
when someone is shot in the back and no one is being is accountable and we can clearly see this man was running away. >> like the walter scott case. >> absolutely. i just do not understand a lot of things going on. it is definitely bringing the young people in as well as the older people closer together and uniting together so we can make a change. that is what we definitely need, a change. we go out and speak as part of our mentoring program to young men and young women, they say all the time, they do not feel safe. they do not feel safe in their own community. they do not feel safe in their own country. i remember growing up, i always felt safe. i never went outside to play and did not feel safe! our kids cannot feel safe in their own country. that says a lot about the direction we are going in as far as safety and protection,
just on that. it says a lot about this country. when i had children, our own children cannot feel safe in their community. >> will be look back at the last decade. the last eight or 10 years we see a rise of the movement for black lives or the black lives matter is movement. and they point to the death of your son as one of the, a catalyst, a reason for this being born. i cannot imagine they could not have thought -- now that this would be a factor, that this would be a thing. at one point i forget which chapter this was refers to the death of emmett and the fight that they had to try and get justice for the young man. five years removed, what you
think of the legacy of your son's life and of his death? and of the activism because of this? because you have the black lives matter movement and it was written in response to the failure to convict george zimmerman. we think about that, if you think about that, what comes to mind? >> first and foremost, we definitely think of trayvon as a young man who galvanizes his culture. he brought many different cultures together. for one cause. they were fighting for justice. and so, just to know that his name, had to do with the resurgence or being a spark for the new civil rights movement. it means a great deal. we speak of civil rights, there certainly has been an abundance
of people that have come before us and put their lives on the line for us. and so, to see how the new movement is with the young people getting involved. it certainly has a different meaning to it. because we know that young people are involved. young people are not afraid to go out in the streets and protest in peace. and voice their opinion. this isn't the 60s, the 50s and the 60s where we have to be afraid of our jobs because we are going to protest. we have a voice now. just to see all of the young people interact, intertwined with the older people and saying that black lives matter. we know that all lives matter but when we say black lives matter, we look at it in a content that, it is a black life running away from the officer in getting shot. it is a black life that is going choked out in new york
over cigarettes. it is a black life with his hands at getting shot in the street. it is a black life with his hands up in the car and gets shot and killed in front of his daughter. that is always a black lives matter. those lives to matter. and so it is not any other culture that this is happening too. and so of course, all lives matter but when will this country start realizing that black lives matter? and so, trayvon is the new spark to the modern-day civil rights. it is an honor to be his parents and know that we are part of a new movement. >> in addition to in many ways serving his other statesmen and men and women, the parents of those killed. you do a lot of work through the trayvon martin foundation. continuing his legacy, doing mentorship of both young people as well as the families of people who have been killed. can you talk a little bit about
what the trayvon martin foundation does and the work you are continuing to do? >> one of the things we are proud to be a part of is that we connect with other families. we connect with others mothers and fathers that are victims of senseless gun violence. we created a circle of mothers and a circle of fathers where we connect with those families. we empower those families. we tried to heal the families. we come together and it is not so much about tracy and myself. it is about responding with those families so we can help together. it is just one of the programs. we love talking to the young people because we know that the young peoples minds are still shaped table. you know, sometimes people get older and they do not want to change their ways. what we know young people, their minds are able to be molded. they listen to the information. and so, we just enjoy talking to the young people. because of that. and basically, because we know they are our future.
those are just some of the things. it is about bringing awareness to gun violence. but it is also about trying to make a difference in your own community. a lot of people want to try and help the trayvon martin foundation and love the support. but again, they need to basically work in their own community so they can try to make a difference in their community. whether it be a nonprofit organization or whatever organization they work for that grass roots. they can make a difference in their own communities. >> of course. you all have been so generous with your time today which i really appreciate. and it generous with your notes and thoughts and story. in closing, what should families out there watching today, whether they be white or black what should that lesson be that they learn from you and your story that you share? >> i think one of the main takeaways from the story is the fact that as a family, you need
to come together when you're faced with adversity. and learn how to navigate through that adversity. this book is very therapeutic. it is very informative. it is healing and has a lot of information that goes in depth on the, unless his parents not being perfect. and we tell the story how we are not perfect. we tell the story how trayvon is not perfect. and so, just having a glance at how we looked at everything, is what this book is all about. it is a great read and read out that people go out and get it. >> of course. this book is "rest in power: the enduring life of trayvon martin". thank you so much for sharing your time today and thank you for sharing your story with everybody. >> thank you.
>> this week washington journal features authors of key books published this past year. join us for our live conversation with authors about their popular books. coming up on saturday, jessica bruder with her book, no man's land. surviving america in the 21st century. and on sunday, an author with the gatekeepers. how the white house chiefs of staff define every presidency. ...