Less than a week after George Zimmerman’s “not guilty” verdict was announced, the family of Trayvon Martin made their first television appearance on The Today Show on Thursday morning (July 18).
Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, and his father, Tracy Martin, (alongside Trayvon’s brother Jahvaris Fulton and their attorney Benjamin Crump) sat down with Matt Lauer to discuss their thoughts on the overall outcome of the trial and how it felt learning that the man who killed their unarmed loved one had just been acquitted:
TRACY ON THE VERDICT:
Still shocked. Still in disbelief. We felt in our hearts that we were going to get a conviction. We thought that the killer of our unarmed child was going to be convicted of the crime that he committed [...] I just didn’t understand…How can you let the killer of an unarmed child go free? What would your verdict have been if it had been your child? And there’s no winners in this case at all. But I want them to put themselves in our shoes.
SYBRINA ON THE JURY’S DECISION:
I don’t understand if they were looking at it from Trayvon’s point of view… But I just knew that they would see that this was a teenager just trying to get home. This was no burglar. This was somebody’s son that was trying to get home… I was stunned, absolutely. I couldn’t believe it.
Trayvon’s mother father went on to address whether the American legal system failed their son, and if they think race played a major role in the shocking acquittal:
TRACY ON THE ROLE OF RACE IN VERDICT:
Obviously any time you have a person that makes an assumption that a person is up to no good, there is some type of profiling there. Was he racially profiled? I think if Trayvon were white this would have never happened. Obviously, race is playing some type of role.
SYBRINA ON IF THE LEGAL SYSTEM FAILED TRAYVON
I think it failed Trayvon to a certain degree. I think we let the process take its course. We didn’t get the verdict that we were looking for. We wanted him to be held accountable… Yes, I think we were disappointed.
When asked about their thoughts on the protestors and the few violent instances, Sybrina replied:
We have always maintained to do things decent and in order. And we think the protests should be peaceful protests. We’re mot saying for them not to protest because they have right to protest. They have a right to be heard. But we just want to make sure that it is peaceful, that nobody gets hurt. That nobody gets arrested, that you don’t damage your own property.
When asked about their faith and belief in forgiveness, Tracy gravely answered:
Forgiveness is like a healing process. Forgiveness takes time. The Bible says you have to forgive and forget. But also the healing process is a long process.
Martin’s family hopes that the federal government delve’s deeper into their son’s case. They do not feel that justice has been served and anticipate that something further be done about it –– in this case, Zimmerman may face a civil lawsuit.
In the mean time, Sybrina and Tracy have made it their duty to mentor African American youth and educate them on laws that may one day affect them, through the Trayvon Martin Foundation.