SALT LAKE CITY – It was standing room only at the University of Utah’s Olpin Student Union Building Thursday as the mother of Trayvon Martin spoke about racial profiling.
Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Florida, and the trial gained national attention as it raised questions about racial profiling and shooting in self-defense. Zimmerman faced murder charges, but he was acquitted.
Officials at the U of U asked Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, to speak as part of the school’s 30th annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. During her remarks, Fulton said her son’s death has prompted her to fight peacefully against racism, the way King did.
The theme of the event was: Beneath the Hoodie: A Look at Racial Profiling in America. Many who remarked on the shooting of Trayvon Martin suggested Zimmerman was motivated by the fact the teen was black and was wearing a hoodie.
Fulton said people should be looking for ways to make progress on issues like racial profiling.
“If you are not looking for ways to improve this country, to improve your community, then you are a part of the problem,” she said.
Fulton said she has been giving speeches across the country in the hopes she can help bring about social change. She said people should treat others with more respect.
“It has to be something else, and that something else to me is respect,” she said. “A lot of people don’t have respect for others, and they should.”
The U of U’s celebration of MLK Jr. continues through Jan. 23. Click here for more details from the school’s website.