PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

Trayvon Martin’s Mother Opens Up During MLK Jr. Commemoration Event

People gathered at Schwab Auditorium Monday night to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. through song, dance, and powerful testimony.

The night began with President Eric Barron addressing the packed auditorium. Barron thanked those in the crowd who chose to spend MLK Jr. Day in an impactful way. “Service is a powerful way to commemorate Dr. King,” President Barron said. “By choosing to take a day on instead of a day off, we are living the vision set forth by Dr. King.”

President Barron also addressed the great importance diversity holds at Penn State. He shared the U.S. Census statistic stating that by 2020, minorities will represent 40 percent of the country’s population. That demographic shift will make its way to Penn State too, according to Barron. “Diversity is an imperative for this university,” he said.

Following President Barron’s address, a group of students took to the stage to perform a completely original number. The dance group Ambitions, the spoken word group Words, and musical theatre student Maria Wirries collaborated on a piece entitled “One More Day.” Wirries wrote the song of the same name, and accompanied the dance and spoken word performances. The piece was incredibly moving, and ended with a standing ovation from all of Schwab Auditorium.

The beautiful student piece left the audience in a somber mood as event host Jerrie Johnson introduced the keynote speaker: Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin. Fulton then took to the stage, and invited the entire audience to enter into a conversation about the past four years of her life. “This is not a case, this is not a story, this is my life,” Fulton said.

Fulton explained to the audience how dramatically her life changed on February 26, 2012, when her son was shot and killed by a neighborhood watchman in Sanford, Florida. Fulton’s life, which she admitted as being extremely average, was turned upside down. “That was the worst day of my life,” Fulton said.

Yet Fulton did not let grief overwhelm her talk in Schwab Auditorium. Instead, she explained how her despair compelled her to speak out. “I did not want to be the spokesperson for my son, but I decided I needed to be the spokesperson for my son.”

After detailing the work she accomplished with her organization, The Trayvon Martin Foundation, Fulton paused to address a question she suspected the audience was asking: does she forgive the man who shot her son almost four years ago. Keeping with the honest and somber tone of the evening, Fulton answered truthfully. “No,” Fulton said. “I’m not a very religious person, but I am spiritual. I know I have to forgive, but I have not gotten to the point where I am ready to forgive. I’m not there yet; I’m still hurting.”

Ultimately, Fulton preached a message of love and acceptance for everyone, regardless of skin color, religion, sexual orientation, or gender. “It does not matter if they’re black white purple or green, you need to respect them and they need to respect you,” Fulton said. 

About the Author

Anna Foley

Anna is a senior majoring in Communication Arts & Sciences and Spanish with a minor in Theatre. Yes, she went to Spain. Follow her half-funny thoughts @exfoleyator and send her chain emails at [email protected]

Comments

More by Anna

I’ve Found My Voice: Anna Foley’s Senior Column

I can only thank Penn State, the people I met here, and the experiences I had in this place for giving me my voice.

Here Are Your Final Four Line Dances

How Long We Wait For Water In The BJC

Athletics

Penn State Women’s Soccer Poised For Strong 2018 Season

Erica Dambach’s Nittany Lions return a solid combination of experience and young talent. They’re ranked No. 4 to start the season.

Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Men’s Soccer Trio, Reading United Win PDL Eastern Conference Title, Fall Short Of National Championship

Penn State Hockey’s Evan Barratt, Aarne Talvitie Participate In World Junior Summer Showcase

Student Life

Start The Semester Off Right With These Welcome Week Activities

Don your brightly-colored college shirt and officially begin your Penn State career with these Welcome Week activities.

Nike Releases New Penn State Sneakers

Penn State Parking Office Runs Into Student Permit Purchase Issues

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

Start The Semester Off Right With These Welcome Week Activities

Don your brightly-colored college shirt and officially begin your Penn State career with these Welcome Week activities.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Assessing Penn State’s Front Seven Following Tuesday’s Medical Retirements

Penn State’s defensive line rotation will be shaken up following Ryan Buchholz’s medical retirement from football, while the coaching staff is letting the linebackers duel it out during camp.

Send this to a friend