Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, announced this week that she has qualified to run for public office to fulfill the seat of Miami-Dade County commissioner, District 1. Martin was an unarmed black teenager who was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in 2012. George Zimmerman, who was charged for Martin’s death, was acquitted for all his charges the following year.
Her announcement of candidacy comes as protests against police brutality and systemic racism against black people and communities sweep both the United States and the world. This follows the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in Minneapolis after a white police officer kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes on May 25.
Fulton now joins other Mothers of the Movement, a group of black women whose children have been killed by police or gun violence, in running for office. This includes Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Georgia, mother of Jordan Davis who was killed in 2012 and Lezley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown, who was killed in 2014, though lost her bid last year for a seat on the Ferguson City Council in Missouri. Both McBath and McSpadden ran for public office after their unarmed black teenage sons were killed.
Since her son’s death, Fulton spent the last eight years advocating for gun control reforms. She founded the Trayvon Martin Foundation and the Circle of Mothers to bring together and help empower mothers and other women who have lost family members to gun violence.
As many protests across the nation demand to "defund the police," Fulton said in an interview this week that she was not in support of the call. “I think we need more police,” she told The Guardian. “We need police with better standards, and police with better ethics and better work habits.” She added that she wanted to “bridge the gap” between law enforcement and the community.
Fulton’s campaign is prioritizing creating better transportation systems for Miami-Dade, closing the gap in racial economic opportunity, and housing affordability.
Fulton received endorsements by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J) and former 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who held a virtual fundraiser for her late last month. Both Booker and Clinton have backed Fulton’s campaign since September 2019.
Fulton will be running against Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert for the seat.