Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, announced on Monday her intentions to run for public office in Miami-Dade County.
Martin’s death at the hands of George Zimmerman is widely credited with sparking the Black Lives Matter movement, and if elected, Fulton plans to use her position to “empower our communities and make them safer.”
“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. “But the work is not done. I am proud to announce that I will run to represent District 1 on the county commission.”
Fulton’s decision to run for Miami-Dade County commissioner comes after years of activism with the Trayvon Martin Foundation, a non-profit Fulton and her husband, Tracy Martin, established in March 2012, less the one month after their 17-year-old son was killed.
Tracy Martin and Fulton told the Miami Herald in 2017 that they were both considering runs at the local, state, and national levels.
Fulton has stated repeatedly since 2012 that she does not want to be in the public eye. She begins her campaign ad, “At first, I didn’t want to be the voice for Trayvon after he died. But I decided I have no choice. Now I’m called to act.”
“I did not want this spotlight,” she said while speaking at the Democratic National Convention. “This is about saving our children.”
If elected, Fulton plans to tackle housing costs, mental health, and, of course, “senseless gun violence.”
“We have to come together with some sort of plan to get rid of all of these weapons that are unregistered that are sitting around that people are just using carelessly,” she told Washington State’s KCTS9. “We have to know the meaning of senseless gun violence — something that could be prevented.”
Fulton’s son was shot and killed in 2012 in Florida by a man named George Zimmerman. Zimmerman claimed that Trayvon Martin attacked him, and he shot the teenager in self-defense. A six-person jury sided with Zimmerman, ruling that the man could not be charged. A Department of Justice investigation also determined that there was insufficient evidence to charge Zimmerman with a hate crime.
Fulton believes the jury got it wrong.
“He wasn’t lost – he was murdered,” she told a crowd in 2015. “He was murdered at the hands of senseless gun violence. He was murdered at the hands of racial profiling.”
She blames her son’s death on hate, telling KCTS9, “people hate you so much that they want to harm you; they hate you so much that they want to kill you. How do we become a society such as that? How did we get there?”
In 2016, Fulton endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, calling the former secretary of state the candidate best positioned to “stand up to inaction from Republicans and indifference from the NRA” on gun control.
Fulton is running against Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert III for the commissioner position.