The parents of Trayvon Martin, the black 17-year-old shot and killed in Sanford, Fla. last February by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, spoke in Little Rock today at a civil rights breakfast, part of the annual conference of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, or NOBLE.
Tracy Martin, Sybrina Fulton and their attorney Benjamin Crump shared the platform with several local luminaries, including Elizabeth Eckford of the Little Rock Nine and former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders as they addressed a large crowd of black officers from across the U.S., the Caribbean and the UK. They arrived late at the breakfast because of a canceled flight out of Florida last night. While introducing Fulton and Martin, Crump led the crowd in three chants of "I am Trayvon," which he said brings Fulton and Martin strength when they speak in public.
Martin said that if it was not for members of NOBLE on the Sanford, Fla. Police Department, the case would have gone cold. At a press conference after the event, Fulton said their gratitude to the organization is why they traveled to Little Rock to address the group. Martin told the crowd he had dedicated his life to seeing justice for his son, and helping all people who have been victimized. "It didn't stop with Trayvon," he said, "and it's not going to end with Trayvon."
"I just wanted to make an appearance here to make sure that NOBLE knows we appreciate their support," Fulton said, "and everything they have done and everything they will do to show their support for our cause... we're just happy to know we have people in Little Rock, Ark. who are supporting us as well."
"This is not anything local," Martin said at the press conference after the event. "This is a national tragedy. This could have been any one of your kids. This is not a black or white issue. This is a right or wrong issue."