Trayvon Martin's mother running for local office in Miami-Dade County: 'It took my son being shot down in order for me to stand up'

PHOTO: Sybrina Fulton participates in a panel at the National Action Network Convention in New York, April 3, 2019.PlaySeth Wenig/AP, FILE
WATCH Trayvon Martin's mother announces run for office

Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, announced over the weekend she is joining the race to become a Miami-Dade County commissioner, following suit with other mothers who have lost their sons to gun violence and sought public office.

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"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. But the work is not done. I am proud to announce that I will run to represent District 1 on the county commission," Fulton wrote on Instagram Sunday.

PHOTO: Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, center, and fellow members of Mothers of The Movement address the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 26, 2016. Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post/Getty Images, FILE
Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, center, and fellow members of Mothers of The Movement address the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 26, 2016.

"At first I didn't want to be the voice for Trayvon after he died but I decided I have no choice," she says in a video posted to her Instagram Monday. "Now, I'm called to act and called to serve. It became clear to me there's an opportunity to turn our family's tragedy into something positive for many other families. It took my son being shot down in order for me to stand up. But I'm standing now."

Fulton is running for a seat on the 13-member board of Miami-Dade County commissioners.

Her son, Trayvon, an unarmed black teenager, was fatally shot in February 2012 by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. Zimmerman was acquitted by an all-female jury in 2013 but the trial ignited a national debate about gun violence and racial profiling.

Since her son's death, Fulton has emerged on the national stage as an advocate for gun control along with a collection of mothers who lost their sons to gun violence in some of the country's most high-profile incidents.

At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, flanked by Mothers of the Movement -- a group of mothers united in grief over losing their African-American sons to gun violence or excessive use of force by police -- Fulton said on stage, "I am here today for my son Trayvon Martin who is heaven. I did not want this spotlight but I will do everything I can focus some of this light on the pain on a path out of the darkness. This is about saving our children."

PHOTO: Trayvon Martin is shown in this undated photo. Courtesy Martin Family
Trayvon Martin is shown in this undated photo.

Fulton's entrance in the political sphere comes after a surge of parents of victims of gun violence launched bids for public office in 2018. Current Georgia Congresswoman Lucy McBath, the first member of Mothers of the Movement to run for office, unseated incumbent GOP Rep. Karen Handel in Georgia's 6th Congressional District in 2018. McBath decided to turn to politics after her 17-year old son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed in 2012 by a stranger at a Florida gas station who said the teenager was playing his music too loud.

"I never expected this to happen, but I know that in light of all my experiences, to not to do anything is a tragedy in itself," McBath said in an interview with ABC News just days before winning the Democratic nomination in the race.

After the deadly Parkland shooting in February 2018, two parents whose teenage daughters were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School decided to run for Broward County's school board.

Lori Alhadeff, whose 14-year-old daughter Alyssa Alhadeff was among the victims, won a seat on the county’s school board in a landslide. Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina Petty, also 14, was killed in the school shooting, ran for a school board at-large seat, but lost.

"There is no better way to ensure that the change this school system desperately needs is achieved than to have a seat at the table," Alhadeff said after her victory in November.

Fulton has worked in county government for decades, starting her career 20 years ago in the General Service Administration Department in Miami-Dade government before moving to the Housing Development Agency.

"For our future, we need new, positive action on public safety and gun violence, on affordable housing and the cost of living," she said in her announcement video. "We must do everything possible to improve the quality of life for everyday people. These issues are pressing."

ABC News' Cheyenne Haslett contributed to this report.