Thrust into the national spotlight and a life of activism after the shooting of her teenage son, Sybrina Fulton has spent the better part of the last seven years advocating for an end to gun violence and promoting social justice.
She has appeared on network TV, co-written a book and helped form a non-profit organization — the Trayvon Martin Foundation — named in her son’s memory and based in his hometown of Miami Gardens.
Now she’s challenging the city’s mayor for a seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission.
“Since 2012, I have advocated tirelessly to empower our communities and make them safer,” she said in a statement Saturday. “But the work is not done. I am proud to announce that I will run to represent District 1 on the county commission.”
Fulton announced Saturday that she would launch her campaign for the District 1 seat, which will be relinquished in 2020 by the term-limited Commissioner Barbara Jordan. Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert is also running for the seat, one of five up for grabs after Miami-Dade voters approved a two-term limit for the 13-member board in 2012. Miami Gardens is the biggest city in District 1.
Fulton, who plans to formally announce her run on Monday, campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2016. She has said she is not anti-gun but promotes gun-control measures that would tighten background checks and restrict private gun sales.
“Our county must continue moving forward so our families are safe from violence, can afford to live in Miami-Dade, and have access to good paying jobs,” she said in her statement. “I am ready to take on these issues and many others in county government.”
Trayvon Martin was 17 years old when he was shot to death in 2012 by a neighborhood crime watch captain. After a violent struggle in Sanford, where Martin had been spending time with his father following a suspension from Michael Krop High, 28-year-old George Zimmerman shot Martin in the heart. He was unarmed.
Martin’s death sparked coast-to-coast protests and trained a spotlight on Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law. Fulton worked for the county at the time of her son’s death. After Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting, she quickly became a full-time advocate.
The Trayvon Martin Foundation, which is headquartered in Miami Gardens, has launched initiatives to “empower families and communities through violence prevention, mental health access and awareness, and educating the community’s children,” the foundation says.