Mother of Trayvon Martin encourages Vincennes University students to respect everyone, surround themselves with positive people

Mother of Trayvon Martin encourages Vincennes University students to respect everyone, surround themselves with positive people

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February 06, 2020

February 6, 2020 / Mother of Trayvon Martin encourages Vincennes University students to respect everyone, surround themselves with positive people

Sybrina Fulton photo

VINCENNES, Ind. – February is Black History Month and Vincennes University’s celebration commenced with Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, sharing her personal journey and how she has devoted her life to turning tragedy into change.

Fulton spoke on the Vincennes campus during the Black History Month Kickoff Celebration on Feb. 4 in the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center.

She described how she deals with the grief of losing a child. Fulton explained how she was living an “average life” as an “average mom” when her 17-year-old son was shot and killed in 2012.

“There was nothing that I can tell you about that I did in my life to prepare for me what I’ve gone through,” she said. “There was nothing that happened in my life for me to believe that I would lose one of my children. I still cry about my son.”

A day before what would have been Martin’s 25th birthday, his mother urged the audience to exercise their right to vote, embrace jury duty, respect all types of people, and to surround themselves with strong, positive people.

“I didn’t want be that sad person. I didn’t want to be that depressed person. I didn’t want to be the person who gave up on up life because my son was shot and killed, so I made a choice,” she said. “That’s what a lot of people have to do. It’s sad and unfortunate, but you’ve got to make a choice and say, ‘I don’t want that.’ You have another option.”

In their son’s honor, Fulton and her ex-husband, Tracy Martin, created the Trayvon Martin Foundation to bring awareness to gun violence and to have a positive effect on communities. The foundation fosters an atmosphere of healing, awards scholarships, and holds food and toy giveaways in addition to many other things. Fulton is also currently running for Miami-Dade County Commissioner in District 1 in her home state of Florida.

Fulton’s message inspired students, including Joanah Murphy, a VU business management major.

“She was amazing,” Murphy said. “This is one of the first times, I’ve been to an event where something powerful is being spoken. I really commend Ms. Fulton for spreading the good works. Like she said, she could have been depressed and down. A lot of students needed to hear that just because something happened doesn’t mean you have to stop.”

VINCENNES UNIVERSITY - Indiana’s First College

VU is state-supported with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper, the Aviation Technology Center and American Sign Language program in Indianapolis, Early College Career and Technical Education Centers, and additional sites such as the Gene Haas Training and Education Center in Lebanon, the Logistics Training and Education Center in Plainfield, and the Gibson County Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics in Fort Branch. A leader in developing Early Colleges statewide, VU also offers instruction at military sites throughout the nation.

In addition to offering a wide range of associate degree and certificate programs, VU also offers bachelor’s degree programs in technology, homeland security, nursing, secondary education programs in mathematics and science, and special education/elementary education.

VU enrolls students from throughout Indiana, 36 other states, and 21 other countries. Tuition and fees are the lowest among Indiana campuses with residence halls. VU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Founded in 1801, VU is Indiana’s first college and is the only college in the nation founded by an individual who would later become President of the United States. William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S. President, founded VU while serving as governor of the Indiana Territory. More information is available at


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MARCIA MARTINEZ, University Life Reporter & Sports Information Director
   812-888-4164 office, 314-599-1519 cell,,
VINCENNES UNIVERSITY, Department of University Relations,