Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton announced Monday that she is “officially qualified” to run for public office and is now a candidate for Miami-Dade County Commissioner for District 1 in her hometown of Miami Gardens, Florida.
Fulton joins a small group of mothers — including Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), mother of Jordan Davis, and Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown — who ran for public office after their Black sons were shot and killed.
Fulton — a former housing agency employee who assisted low-income renters — became a vocal gun reform advocate after the shooting death of her son in 2012.
She intends to continue prioritizing gun violence prevention, her campaign manager Willis Howard told The Washington Post when Fulton launched her campaign last year. Fulton will also push for policies that will help grieving families by increasing access to mental health resources, Harris said.
According to her campaign website, Fulton’s other priorities include economic opportunity, housing affordability and transportation.
“My time as a public servant began 30 years ago at Miami-Dade County. Since 2012, I have advocated tirelessly to empower our communities and make them safer,” she said in a statement on Instagram a year ago, when she announced her plan to run. “But the work is not done. I am proud to announce that I will run to represent District 1 on the county commission.”
She will be running against mayor of Miami Gardens, Oliver G. Gilbert III.
In 2012, Fulton’s son was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a white neighborhood watchman, because he looked “suspicious.” Martin, who had just turned 17, was walking home from a convenience store in Sanford, Florida, when Zimmerman confronted and killed him.
It also ignited Fulton’s work as an activist.
Since Martin’s death, Fulton has used her grief to highlight the many injustices the Black community faces by making speeches across the country, co-writing a book about her experiences, and launching the Trayvon Martin Foundation, which aims to elicit positive change and end “senseless gun violence.”
“She has given speeches where she talked about, here’s a couple things you might have to do: You might have to protest. You might have to march. You might have to run for office,” Howard told The Post last year. “She kept realizing, she was speaking to herself.”
Although Fulton is heavily associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, which has gained steam since George Floyd, a Black man, was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer at the end of May, she doesn’t necessarily buy into the idea of defunding the police, a proposal that has quickly gained traction among protesters and on social media. She told the Guardian on Monday that she’d rather “bridge the gap between the law enforcement and the community” and would prefer to reform the practices in police departments.
“I think we need more police. We need police with better standards, and police with better ethics and better work habits,” she said.