MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) – The mother of Trayvon Martin, who became a social justice activist after he was shot to death in 2012, has thrown her hat in the ring for a seat on Miami-Dade’s commission.
On Monday, Sybrina Fulton formally announced that she was running for the District 1 seat. Term limits will keep current District 1 Commissioner Barbara Jordan from running again. Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert III is also running to fill the seat.READ MORE: Taste Of The Town: Sink Your Teeth Into Authentic Cuban Sandwiches At Sanguich de Miami
“My time as a public servant began 30 years ago at Miami-Dade County. Since 2012, I have advocated tirelessly to empower our communities and make them safer,” Fulton said in an Instagram post on Sunday. “But the work is not done. I am proud to announce that I will run to represent District 1 on the county commission.”
The decision to run was solidified several weeks ago after she gave a speech to the National Action Network about getting involved in communities through advocacy, marching and sometimes seeking public office to seek change, according to her campaign manager Willis Howard.
“When she said that statement, she kind of felt like it was talking to herself,” Howard said.
Fulton, who graduated from Florida Memorial University, has worked for Miami-Dade County in various areas, including housing.
Howard said she will focus on issues such as economic development, attaining more workforce housing and affordable housing and curbing gun violence.
Fulton also wants to be involved in the Miami-Dade Police Department’s transition to a sheriff’s office to help write legislation “on how that sheriff’s department looks, how it acts and how it treats its citizens.”
In February 2012, former neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman killed Trayvon in Sanford, north of Orlando. The unarmed 17-year-old, who lived with his mother in Miami Gardens, was visiting his father, Tracy Martin.
The teenager’s death spurred a national movement and gave rise to a rallying cry that resonates with many today: “#BlackLivesMatter.”READ MORE: Davonte Barnes Charged In Mass Shooting Outside NW Miami-Dade Banquet Hall
Martin’s death also inspired then-President Barack Obama to deliver a heartfelt message to Martin’s parents, saying, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
After public pressure, including rallies nationwide, Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder in April 2012.
In July 2013, Zimmerman was acquitted, igniting protests.
After her son’s death, Fulton created The Trayvon Martin Foundation with Trayvon’s father “out of a need to bring awareness to ending senseless gun violence,” according to the non-profit’s website. The two also co-authored “Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin.”
In 2016, Fulton endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, calling the former secretary of state the candidate best positioned to “stand up to inaction from Republicans and indifference from the NRA” on gun control.
Fulton is one several African-American mothers who have turned to social activism and politics to bring out change they envision after their sons were fatally shot.
Earlier this year, Lesley McSpadden, whose son, Michael Brown, was killed by a white police officer in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri, ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the city council of the St. Louis suburb.
Gun control activist Lucy McBath, whose 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed by a white man in 2012 after a dispute over loud music, was elected to Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in November.MORE NEWS: CDC Backs Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots For Seniors, Some Others
Howard said Fulton has been inspired by McBath and also by the survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who became advocates for gun control.