MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Before Trayvon Martin became the face of a movement, he was a boy from Miami Gardens who loved football, babies and his mother.
Now, his mother is reflecting on the past decade since her son's death.
Sybrina Fulton sat down with CBS4 Anchor Lauren Pastrana to talk about the call 10 years ago that changed her life forever and the progress toward change that's happened since.
Sybrina Fulton: I was in disbelief. I was numb to the fact that he had just told me that Trayvon had been shot and killed. I remember backing out of the parking spot I was in. I remember getting on I-95, getting on the expressway, and at that particular point I believe that's when it hit me. And I just cried out to God. I don't know how long I was there. I know I turned the car off. I remember cars passing off. I remember just screaming and yelling out to God.
Lauren Pastrana: What went through your mind as those details started to trickle out?
Fulton: It took some time for people to find out what really happened. Because I didn't know what really happened. From the news it said that two adults had gotten into an altercation. And that simply wasn't the case. My son was not considered an adult by any means. He was a 17 year old teenager who was unarmed. And he had a 28 year old man with a loaded gun who followed him, chased him, pursued him, profiled him and ultimately shot and killed him.
Pastrana: Why was it so important for you in those early days when your grief was so raw to put yourself out there like that?
Fulton: I believe the reason why I spoke out for my son is because he had no voice. He was no longer here and I felt like I had to be the voice for my son. Even though my emotions as a mother and as a woman were telling me 'Don't go. It's going to hurt too bad if you go to Sanford.' I did not want to go. I told myself I wasn't going. I told my attorneys I wasn't going. I told Tracy I wasn't going. And then the day I found out they were not going to arrest the person that had shot and killed him, I immediately jumped into mommy mode. I just can't. I can't allow this to happen.
Pastrana: Do you feel like you got that fair shot at justice for your child because there was a trial when so many people thought there wouldn't even be one or do you still feel like that is the part that's missing here?
Fulton: I don't believe America was ready to face the ugly truth about racism. About racial profiling. I don't believe they had at that time in 2012. I think we have progressed to move forward that we can charge and people accountable for when they shoot and kill people of color.
Pastrana: So do you think if the trial were to have happened in 2022 after all the other cases that have happened that there might have been a different outcome?
Fulton: Absolutely I believe there might have been a different outcome. We still have a long way to go in the justice system for people of color and I'm not going to say it is just because we did get a few people convicted and they're going to go to jail for the rest of their lives.
Pastrana: Let's talk about some of that progress... You mentioned more still needs to be done but are you starting to see some glimmers of hope that change is coming perhaps as a result of your son's legacy?
Fulton: I definitely see progress. Like I said when people are being held accountable for taking a life, that's progress. Because I remember a time when people were being shot and killed and people weren't even being arrested. So at least they're being arrested and now they're being convicted and going to jail for the rest of their lives. But we also have to remember that lives were taken.
Pastrana: I notice you're wearing a shirt, I've also seen it on your social media. It says "10 Years, Still Standing, Still Strong". I think one of the questions that a lot of people might wonder is 'How?' How are you still standing so strong?.
Fulton: Because I realize it's so much work to do. I realize that I'm working with a purpose and a passion because of the tragedy with my son. I'm working because I have a son in Heaven and a son here on earth and I want to make them proud.
Now, Sybrina Fulton remains a mother on a mission.
She uses her experience to help other mothers in similar situations find peace and healing.
See more of our conversation about her "Circle of Mothers" Friday night at 11 on CBS4 News.
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