Hundreds of supporters — mothers, fathers, sons and daughters — gathered at a Miami-Dade church Saturday to prayerfully send off the parents of slain teenager Trayvon Martin as they travel about 250 miles to Central Florida for the trial of the man accused of killing their son on a rainy night last February.
Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, along with members of the Trayvon Martin Foundation, clergy and the public attended the community program Saturday afternoon at Bethel Apostolic Temple — a blend of prayer, gospel songs, empowering speeches and the pained words of the parents.
“I say to you, I stand here as a mother, that my heart is hurting, but I know…that God will work this out,’’ said Fulton, tears welling in her eyes. “I know that the prayers are coming, I know that you are with us.”
The parents plan to attend the trial of George Zimmerman, which begins June 10 with jury selection in Sanford. Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, 17, of Miami Gardens.
Zimmerman says he shot and killed Trayvon in self-defense on Feb. 26 after a violent, physical altercation between the two in the gated townhouse community in Sanford.
Prosecutors say Zimmerman profiled and followed the unarmed teen as he walked alone from a convenience store to the home where he was staying. In the months after Trayvon’s death, the high-profile case drew national headlines, protests and marches and fueled racial tensions.
The family attorney, Benjamin Crump, offered an impassioned speech on Saturday — sprinkled with quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr. and Thurgood Marshall — about the upcoming trial, characterizing it as, “the long road to justice.’’ He warned of a long court proceeding which would take an emotional toll on Trayvon’s parents.
“When we uplift justice for Trayvon Martin, what we are really doing is uplifting America to live up to its true creed,’’ Crump said. “Not just letting it be words on a statue, but that everybody in America gets equal justice.’’