Watch: Trayvon Martin’s Parents Give Their First Interview About The George Zimmerman Verdict On The ‘Today’ Show


An interesting discussion took place on our recent post about George Zimmerman’s acquittal. Of course, the conversation about the case is on-going, with journalists, bloggers, celebrities (I’m in the middle of this article by Questlove), and everyone everywhere weighing in. Since the verdict, I’ve only been reading more disturbing things about the case, and the potential bias of Angela Corey, Florida attorney general for the prosecution of George Zimmerman. Now, Trayvon Martin’s parents (Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin) are speaking out for the first time since their son’s killer was acquitted. A lot of people are pissed that Matt Lauer of the Today Show seemed really unsympathetic to the parents– kind of asking them if they can understand how Zimmerman was acquitted, and asking (repeatedly) if they could forgive/understand Zimmerman’s predicament. Yeah. No. And WTF? I also got annoyed when Matt Lauer brought up the few protests in Trayvon’s name that have ended in violence– as opposed to celebrating the many, many non-violent acts that took place. Whatever. Props to Trayvon’s parents for remaining so calm, cool, and collected; I don’t even understand how they can form coherent sentences with such great loss and disappointment.

My favorite part is when Trayvon’s mom says that the verdict sends a very powerful message to young boys and men of color: You can’t walk fast and you can’t walk slow. #Truth


  • Krissy

    There was a panel on late at night on CNN the other day, and Anderson Cooper was moderating it. They were talking about race and justice, and there were two black men who spoke about how they were wrestling with what they will say to their sons about this case.

    One man said, that previously he had always told his son to not walk/run too fast, because people assume you are running from a crime (also don’t touch your belt, etc.). But after Trayvon was deemed suspicious because he was walking to slow, he said something like, “Now I don’t know what to tell my son to save his life. What is the right speed to walk? What do I tell him?”

    The emotion in his voice, the paternal instinct to protect the safety of your children, his feeling of helplessness to do so…it really moved me. He wasn’t asking in a sarcastic way, he genuinely wanted to know what could be done to remove “suspicion”.

    • Shannon

      Krissy, yes– I just came across an article making a similar point. Parents don’t know what to tell their children because there’s no ‘safe’ behavior anymore (and really, never was):

    • Krissy

      Very interesting! Link! I found the transcript of the CNN program.

      This also stood out to me, especially his point about being found suspicous because it looks like you are GOING to do something illegal (as opposed to HAVE done something illegal):

      Mr. Blow: “What Zimmerman was saying about Trayvon was he was walking too slowly, and it wasn’t as if he had already stolen something, but he was about to do something. And that struck me as saying, you know, at what — is there any way that they can hold their bodies, is there any way that you can telegraph to someone who might find you suspicious that you are not suspicious? That I am not the enemy, that I am not who you think that I am? And I am struggling as a parent to figure out what is it, what can I say, or maybe there is nothing that I can say. I struggle with the idea that my boys have to be divested of innocence. That either I have to do it, the man who loves them, or someone else will do it who does not love them.”

      Another guest said:
      Mr Canada: “So now do I tell my boys, if a strange man approaches you, do not fight back, do not defend yourself, because maybe they might kill you? And then who is going to believe that you were really an innocent person?”

  • Krissy

    And I have to say…Trayvon’s parents are inspiring to me. I should only hope that if tragedy impacts my family, that I can find a fraction of the grace they have shown.

    • Kayla

      This times 1000. That was such a hard watch because they are just so graceful when they’ve been dealt shit.

  • Sandy!

    Shannon, I would love to know your thoughts on that pretty amazing/sad/thought-provokinh Questlove article.

    Trayvon’s parents are just so amazing, I don’t know how I would react if I were in the same situation. I know for sure I wouldn’t be so graceful and kind this interview. Matt Lauer is coming off like a grade A douche.

  • Alecia

    *Side eyes Matt.* Matt needs to know this isn’t a Paula Deen or Lindsay Lohan type interview where they messed up and ask for public forgiveness. You have to approach this with kid gloves.
    These are two everyday people who loved their child and while they aren’t together they were united in being good parents and respecting each other. That’s what I admire most. For all the stories about parents who acted wrong, it’s good to see two co-parents act like adults even in such a dire situation.
    They have my respect and my support. And I hope they continue to provide a strong example of grace, courage, and faith.