Words by Nick Slay
As part of national, ‘Giving Tuesday’ Actor Gbenga Akinnagbe and Sybrina Fulton (Mother of Trayvon Martin) joined forces for a powerful night of conversation, change, and looking to the future. Gbenga, Founder of Liberated People (already nationally recognizable for his roles in The Wire, The Good Wife, and The Taking of Pelham 123, to name a few) put together the event to support the Trayvon Martin Foundation, and sell as many Trayvon Martin hoodies to raise money for the foundation’s many efforts to change the national conversation of blacks in America while supporting the community at a grassroots level. Noted speakers at the event were the honorable Rev. Al Sharpton, Deepak Chopra, Harry Belafonte, DJ Ritch Medina, Bernie Sander’s national press secretary Symone Sanders as well as True Blood/American Horror Story Star Denis O’Hare. Sponsored by ABC Carpet & Home the event was held at it’s Deepak Home Base event space in downtown NYC.
Sybrina Fulton spoke candidly about wishing she could still be an average mom. She looked forward to working her 9-5, coming home fussing at her sons, and just doing all the things expected of her as suburban mom. She never meant to be thrust into the national spotlight, but she realizes she has a mission to uphold the memory of her son, and what his death says about the change that needs to happen in this country. One of her biggest gripes is that the media comes around annually to speak to her on the anniversary of her son’s on February 25th, whereas she’d rather the focus be on celebrating her son’s life and his birthday February 5th.
She feels she is tasked with bringing healing back to our communities after the death of so many men of color due to gun and police violence. As part of that vision, she created the Circle of Mothers (which came to her in a dream) which brings together mothers who have lost a child due to senseless violence. Her first keynote speaker Afeni Shakur (mother of slain entertainer Tupac Shakur) and also had Hillary Clinton share in those duties. It is a place where mothers who lost their children due to gun violence can find healing and spark a discussion of the effects of gun violence in America. When asked if she has political aspirations, she smiled and hinted that one day it may be in the works. As an english major with a minor in communications as well as her work as of late, it wouldn’t be too far off.