PHILADELPHIA—The mother of Trayvon Martin said Friday that Florida's Stand Your Ground law was at fault for the death of her son during a scuffle with neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Florida.
"I'm just asking your mind around ... no prom for Trayvon. No high school graduation for Trayvon. No college for Trayvon," said Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, in a speech before the National Urban League in Philadelphia. "All because of a law, a law that has prevented the person who shot and killed my son to be held accountable and to pay for this awful crime."
Stand Your Ground served as the backdrop of the trial of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, and has sparked a national conversation on whether such laws help crime victims or encourage violent retaliation. But the Florida Stand Your Ground law, which allows a person to use deadly force in self-defense without a duty to retreat, was not actually used by the defense or prosecution in the Zimmerman case.
And that hasn't stopped minority advocates like Juanita Martin of the National Urban League's Philadelphia branch who told U.S. News she planned to support Fulton by working with the league to repeal the Pennsylvania version of Florida's Stand Your Ground law.
Fulton urged the largely female crowd Friday to also support her by seeing Trayvon Martin as their own son, and ensuring a death like his wasn't repeated.
"We know that, as a mom, we're a little sensitive when it comes to our children," she said, to which many women nodded their heads or voiced affirmation. "But my message to you is please use my story, please use my tragedy, please use my broken heart to say to yourself: we cannot let this happen to anybody else's child."
On Wednesday, the father of Trayvon Martin, Tracy Martin, similarly members of Congress to show their support by amending Stand Your Ground in a way that would make it illegal for a person to use deadly force in self-defense if they are the initial aggressor.