By Lauren Rearick
In 2012, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida; his killer was later acquitted on charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter. Since her son’s death, Sybrina Fulton has called for an end to acts of gun violence and advocated for change on a nationwide level as an author and co-founder of the Trayvon Martin Foundation. She now intends to continue her work in a new way; on Saturday, May 17, she announced that she’s running for a County Commission seat in Miami-Dade’s first district, the Miami Herald reports.
In an accompanying video, which formally announced her run on Monday, May 19, Fulton detailed the journey that led her to run, including her past work as the General Service Administration Department with Miami-Dade’s local government. “Until recently, I didn’t see myself as someone who would run,” she says. “But if not me, then who? If not now, then when?”
Her campaign manager, Willis Howard, explained to The Washington Post that some of Fulton’s work as a public speaker served as the catalyst for her to run. “She has given speeches where she talked about, here’s a couple things you might have to do: You might have to protest. You might have to march. You might have to run for office,” he said. “She kept realizing, she was speaking to herself.”
Fulton was also inspired by others affected by gun violence who pursued political careers, including Congresswoman Lucy McBath, mother to Jordan Davis; Lesley McSpadden, mother to Michael Brown; and the survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Howard told CNN.
If elected, Fulton would begin her term in 2020, the Washington Post reports. She detailed some of the issues she intends to focus on in her Instagram video announcement, saying, “For our future, we need new positive action on public safety and gun violence, on affordable housing, and the cost of living. We must do everything possible to improve the quality of life for everyday people.”
Fulton also plans to address mental health access for Miami-Dade county residents, particularly those affected by gun violence. “Mental health is not looked at the same way especially in communities of color,” Howard told The Washington Post. “We want to make sure we put that in the forefront. If you’re a victim of violent crime, there are some issues we need to deal with for the family who survived. We need to deal with those moms and brothers and sisters who are facing these new realities. We want to make sure they have access to the support they need.”