Heard on Campus: Trayvon Martin's mother speaks during MLK Day event

January 20, 2016

"I absolutely think there is hope out there. I think there is a lot of evil in this world. I think there is a lot of hatred. That’s one of the things I’m going to talk about this evening: Why do people feel they have so much hate in their heart that they want to harm someone? We just have to be mindful that that is a fact. You don’t necessarily have to commit any crimes. You don’t necessarily have to do anything to cause this on yourself. It is just simply people that are out there that hate people because of the color of your skin, so we have to recognize that. A lot of times people don’t want to talk about it. When you don’t talk about it, you don’t get to a resolution, and I’m about resolution. I think you need to get to the point where you come to the next step. 

"When you don’t talk about it, you don’t get to a resolution, and I’m about resolution."

-- Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mother

"I just admire people who get involved when it has not happened to them and their family. I was forced to get involved. I tell a lot of people, 'Don’t wait until it happens to you. Don’t wait until your son is a hashtag.' A lot of people don’t feel a sense of urgency until something happens to their immediate family or to a friend and they feel the same pain, but I believe there is hope that people can change. It is hard to change people’s minds but I certainly believe that we can change, even though we still see different stories or different tragedies. I certainly believe there is hope."

-- Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, spoke about violence, healing and activism in Penn State’s Schwab Auditorium on Monday, Jan.18, as part of Penn State's 2016 commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and work. Fulton participated by invitation of the students who helped to plan Martin Luther King Jr. Day events at Penn State. 

Fulton's son, Trayvon Martin, was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in 2012. Fulton has become a speaker against violence toward children and an advocate for building better, safer communities for all. She speaks at colleges as well as to legal professionals, community and family organizations, and others working in the realm of social justice. Fulton also guides the Trayvon Martin Foundation, which helps families who are victims of senseless violence.

Other 2016 Penn State MLK events include: a State College schools and community showcase of art, poetry and essays on Wednesday, Jan. 20, at 129 HUB-Robeson Center; a "Speak for Peace" oration contest at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21, in Heritage Hall at the HUB; and a discussion about the next step in social justice activism at 4 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 25, in the HUB's Freeman Auditorium.

Last Updated January 21, 2016