NEW YORK -Sabrina and Tracy Martin, the mother and father of slain teenager Trayvon Martin, are parents in pain; a soft-spoken, spiritual couple on a crusade for truth and justice.
“We just want to do what’s right,” Tracy Martin told BlackAmericaWeb in an exclusive interview. “We just want to do the right thing.”
For Martin, the “right thing” is sharing a message that Trayvon was a victim, not the aggressor or a thug; that he was good son who was shot and killed by an overzealous self-imposed neighborhood watch leader.
I met Sabrina and Tracy Martin last week in New York during Rev. Al Sharpton’s 15th annual National Action Network conference where thousands of black Americans from coast to coast gathered to be inspired and empowered.
As I spoke with Tracy and Sabrina, I saw parents who are still struggling with the loss of their only child – as any parent would – but I also witnessed the dignity in which they are handling this sad and highly public tragedy.
Faith and their commitment to justice seem to keep them going. They are humble, gracious and loving people and they know the upcoming trial on June 10 will take a lot of out of them, emotionally and psychologically.
“It’s very challenging,” Tracy Martin told me. “We have a long way to go.”
George Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman says he shot Trayvon in self-defense after he saw the young man acting suspiciously in his neighborhood in Sanford, Florida.
“Our kids are still defined by the color of their skin,” Sabrina Martin said.
Sabrina and Tracy didn’t ask to be in the spotlight; they were forced into the glare of the cameras when Zimmerman killed their son.
Some call the Martins celebrities, but watching them walk through the crowded conference, which was packed with African American men and women of all ages, it was clear that Tracy and Sabrina don’t crave public attention. They only want to tell folks the truth about Trayvon.
The timing for the Martin’s appearance at Rev. Sharpton’ conference couldn’t have been more significant. Forty-five years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Martin was focused on urban gun violence and the legislative push for tougher gun laws.