The parents of slain teen Trayvon Martin took their quest for justice to Capitol Hill today, attending a forum on racial profiling and hate crimes and drawing attention to their son’s killing that occurred more than a month ago.
“Trayvon was our son, but Trayvon is your son,” Sybrina Fulton told the panel. “A lot of people can relate to our situation and it breaks their heart just like it breaks mine.”
Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, thanked members of Congress for their support and said he wants to make sure that Trayvon “did not indeed die in vain.”
“He is sadly missed,” Martin said. “We’ll continue to fight for justice for him.”
Martin said he believes that his son was racially profiled, but it will be up to the Department of Justice to decide whether to charge George Zimmerman, who claims he shot an unarmed Martin in self defense, with a hate crime.
“We continue to fight for Trayvon,” Martin told reporters after the briefing. “We look for this congressional committee to continue to help us and support us in seeking the justice of our son.”
Fulton struggled to find words to express her emotions, but after she took a few moments to regain her composure, she told reporters her heart is broken.
“I would just like to say that of course my heart is broken,” Fulton said. “But it breaks even more to know that we have not gotten justice yet and that this man has not been arrested for shooting and killing my son.”
The family’s counsel, Benjamin Crump, told reporters that the Twitter account purportedly tied to Trayvon that tweets about drug abuse and punching someone is not Trayvon’s account.
“We’ve called Twitter and that is not his Twitter account. It is an account that they’re tweeting after he’s dead,” Crump said. “There are so many things now where they are just trying to just blame the victim, demonize the victim. This was a young kid who was trying his best to make it through adolescence and all he was doing that night was trying to make it home.”
Public outcry has spread across the nation all the way to Capitol Hill as members of Congress have spoken out regularly on the House and Senate floor to honor Martin and demand justice. Earlier Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner called Martin’s death a “tragedy.” Last Friday about 250 congressional staffers rallied on the Capitol steps in Martin’s memory at a “Hoodies on the Hill” demonstration.
The briefing was organized by House Democrats on the Judiciary committee. Florida Democrats Frederica Wilson and Corrine Brown and Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee asked for the briefing, which was titled: Protecting a “Suspect” Community: Racial Profiling & Hate Crimes. The briefing room was filled to capacity as staffers and the public packed the room.
More than 100 black students from Professional Opportunities Program for Students (POPS) traveled 18 hours on buses from the Orlando area to attend the briefing and show support for Trayvon’s family.
“All in all, I just hope that justice is served,” Ethan Gene Baptise said.
“Justice shall prevail,” Lorenzo Howard, a 17-year-old student agreed.
Another student named Johnny said his message for Trayvon’s parents was to “just keep their heads up.”
“Everything will be all right,” he said. “God is with them.”