The mother of slain teenager Trayvon Martin will be able to take about eight months of paid leave from her county job, thanks to the generosity of county employees.
Sybrina Fulton, who has worked at the Miami-Dade County housing authority for 23 years, collected $40,825 worth of donated vacation time, county records show. The paid time off is in addition to the nearly $100,000 the family raised on wepay.com and at rallies, which will be used to launch a criminal justice advocacy foundation in Trayvons name.
The donated days are the latest in a mounting fortune in contributions that have amassed on both sides of the controversial case. With websites dedicated to the grieving parents of Trayvon Martin as well as for the man who killed him, and now even his attorney, funds gathered in the wake of the Feb. 26 tragedy are set to reach half a million dollars. Donors continue to reach into their pockets, even as each side criticizes the others purpose and intent in seeking donations.
They are using the money to continue the legacy of their son, said Michael Hall, a graphic designer and marketing specialist who helped launch the Justice for Trayvon Martin Foundation. The parents created the nonprofit in March in response to their sons killing. They didnt want a situation where people could say they were profiting off the loss of their son.
Hall said Trayvons parents will become paid employees of the foundation, compensated for their time conducting speaking engagements and other advocacy work. He stressed that the foundation would keep Fulton and her ex-husband, Tracy Martin, at the levels of income they already made not higher.
Until now, the parents extensive travel expenses have been paid either by their attorney, Benjamin Crump, or by whoever invited them to the event they attended, he said. They turned all checks they received over to the Miami Foundation, a pre-existing and separate organization that is administering the Justice for Trayvon Martin Foundations trust fund, and will help establish a board of directors, review expenditures and conduct audits, Hall said.
The goal is to raise $1.5 million for programs such as teaching conflict resolution to teens.
The first order of business: a movement to repeal the Stand Your Ground laws that exist around the nation. Fulton released a video on Friday, timed for Mothers Day, on secondchancecampaign.org urging Americans to appeal to their respective governors to eliminate laws that offer increased immunity in self-defense cases.
Hall said the details have not yet been finalized, but Fulton would presumably not begin getting a salary or per diem by the foundation until after her paid county leave runs out. He said he doesnt know if she plans to leave her county job.
Last month the Miami-Dade County Commission passed a resolution sponsored by Bruno Barreiro, Barbara Jordan and Jose Pepe Diaz to allow county employees to donate vacation time to Fulton or Trayvons aunt, Yolanda Knight Evans, a water and sewer customer-service representative. The $50,000 cap the commission set on the value of the time donated was reached in two weeks, county spokeswoman Suzy Trutie said.
A similar measure was passed last year to help the families of two slain police officers.
Records show 192 county employees gave Fulton some of their hours, and 70 people donated to Knight Evans.