Trayvon Martin’s father Tracy Martin, speaking at the first-ever Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys hearing, told the caucus that his continuing fight was to “stop someone else’s child from being killed.”
He added, “My message to the world is that we won’t let this verdict sum up who Trayvon was. I vow to do everything in my power not to give up the fight for him.”
Martin said a son was the “greatest gift” for a man, and it was “heart-wrenching” to lose him. He continued, “[Trayvon] was my hero. He saved my life and not to be there in his time of need is real troublesome.”
The meeting at which Martin spoke was titled “The Status of Black Males: Ensuring Our Boys Mature Into Strong Men.” Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) founded the caucus in March.
Martin was effusive in his praise for Barack Obama, saying:
The most influential man on the planet is weighing in from an African-American’s perspective — just to have the president of the United State comment on our situation, it really touches home. The president said there were “very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store,” saying he too had experienced the manifestations of racial prejudice. It sparks the conversation in every household over the dinner table, what can we do as parents; what can we do as men; what can we do as fathers; what can we do as mentors to stop this from happening to your child?
Rep. Frederica Wilson, from the Congressional Black Caucus (D-FL), whose office employs Trayvon Martin’s brother, Jahvaris Fulton, said, “There is nothing more important that could be happening today in this nation than what is happening in this room. Trayvon’s murder has brought this to the forefront. Trayvon will go down in history as the martyr who brought to the forefront the causes, the suffering… of African-American boys.”
Holmes Norton said “stand your ground” laws were “a clear and present danger to African-American men” and should be “rolled back,” even though George Zimmerman did not use them in his defense at trial.
Norton was only following Barack Obama’s lead; Obama said last Friday:
If we’re sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms, even if there’s a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we’d like to see?