The mother of Trayvon Martin visits University of Utah to speak on racial profiling

By Jason Nguyen

Published 01/16 2014 04:53PM

Updated 01/17 2014 01:13PM

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - Hundreds gathered at the University of Utah to hear a speech about racial profiling during Martin Luther King Week.

The mother of Trayvon Martin, Sybrina Fulton came to the university to raise awareness on the topic and begin a dialog on race between families.

Fulton spoke as a representative of Martin.  She was met with a standing ovation as she came up to the stage. 

She began speaking about how average her family was in Florida, before the fatal shooting of her 17-year-old son.

Martin was gunned down by George Zimmerman in a controversial "stand your ground" case. Zimmerman was later acquitted of the charges of second degree murder and manslaughter.

"When I at his funeral service, when I had to look at my son for a final time, all in white as he was an angel going to prom. That is the worst thing a mother can do," said Fulton to the crowd. "The upside is I get the opportunity to save someone else's child. Although I lost my child in the process."

Fulton told the younger generation they, like other son Jahvaris Fulton, they need to go out and talk openly about race. Many in the audience were wearing hoodies in support of.

“Should I be scared that I’m wearing this hoodie, cause my hair is not combed?” said freshman Peter Ahorukomeye.

It is something many teens and Americans identify with, does a hoodie make you look suspicious? It is also something Fulton addressed swiftly.

“Is it the hoodie that really made a difference or the color of his skin? And if by one second we think it is the color of his skin then something is wrong with America,” she said.  “People are aware now more than ever that it is happening. They have not turned there head away from the fact that it exist here in America. Although it does not happen to them, they know that it is there.”

She told the group not to wait till racism knocks at there door but to be proactive in the discussion.  Racism is something that Junior Hannah Taylor experienced personally.

"I never really saw it growing up until I started dating an African American boy. That was when I really started to see the looks you get and the problems that people have with it,” said Taylor.

It is a conversation that the Fulton says is tough but needs to be talked about. She asked the Utah community that they stay active in the community and try to change the social inequalities that exist.

“These are the cards that I have been dealt and to me it is all about attitude and how I handle this tragedy and I want to lead by example,” says Fulton.

She added that it's time to go back to the times where people walked with a buddy when going somewhere instead of being on a phone talking to someone.  It is one way to stay safe and defuse situations.  

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