“Trayvon is looking down on us and saying, ‘Thank You’”

By Freddie Allen
NNPA Washington Correspondent

Tracy Martin (left) and Sybrina Fulton, the parents of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, address the media during the National Action Network Convention on April 11, 2012 (Photo by Freddie Allen)

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – It was a telephone call that Tracy Martin, father of the 17-year-old African-American killed in Sanford, Fla. by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, worried that he would never receive.

Forty-five days after an unarmed Trayvon Martin had been killed while walking back to a home he was visiting after purchasing a bag of Skittles and a can of Arizona iced tea, Special Prosecutor Angela Corey called to notify Trayvon’s parents that Zimmerman had finally been arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

“I was very emotional when I got the call from Ms. Corey,” Tracy Martin recounted. “I feel like Trayvon is looking down on us and saying, ‘Thank you, dad.” Martin reflected on that telephone call when he was interviewed earlier by Al Sharpton. The civil rights leader played that video tape Saturday, the last day of his National Action Network convention in the nation’s capital.

When asked what she wants others to take away from the case, Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, replied, “I hope that they remember that he was an unarmed teen, he was a minor shot and killed by an adult, and that his parents fought to make sure justice was served,” Fulton said. “I hope that this doesn’t happen to any other child or adult. I hope that this brings people together.”

Although delegates at the convention connected with Trayvon’s parents Saturday by videotape – they appeared in person earlier in the convention – two other women who lost relatives to violence were present at the session on Howard University’s campus.

Nicole Paultre Bell’s fiancee was gunned down in 2006 by plainclothes police officers in New York City hours before they were supposed to get married. The officers fired 50 times at Sean Bell and two of his friends who were injured. Three officers were charged with manslaughter but acquitted.

Also sharing the stage was Kadiatou Diallo, whose son, was reaching for his wallet and ID when he was killed in a hail of bullets. Four plainclothes New York police officers fired 41 bullets at the unarmed Guinean immigrant.

The deaths of Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo received widespread publicity, largely because of the efforts of Al Sharpton. But there are dozens, if not hundreds, of Sean Bells and Amadou Diallos who remain unknown to the public.

On Saturday, many of their parents walked slowly to the microphone at the NAN convention to share their painful stories and grief.

“The only thing that give us strength is to know that people care and people continue to support our struggle,” said Diallo’s mother.

Melanie Campbell the executive director and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Inc. told convention delegates. “It’s very critical that we don’t miss the moment and make sure we turn this moment into a movement.”