The Trayvon Martin Foundation Takes on a Strong Mission

The foundation named after the dead 17-year-old student takes on advocacy, encouragement and prayer.

Posted: 07/31/2013 05:03 PM EDT

In many of her recent public appearances, Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, has stated that she intends to dedicate her life to working to ensure “that what happened to my son won’t happen to anyone else’s child.”

She and Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, have decided to work toward that goal through the Trayvon Martin Foundation, a nonprofit organization that started a year ago to provide support for the families of victims of gun violence and to support programs aimed at ending such violent acts.

“The purpose of the foundation is to create awareness of how gun violence impacts families,” said Kim McCray, the executive director of the Trayvon Martin Foundation, in an interview with BET.com. “When this happened to Sybrina and Tracy, they had no idea of what to do. Now, they want to be a resource to provide that support base for other families.”

The central aim of the foundation, which operates under the auspices of the Miami Foundation, is to not only highlight the toll that gun violence takes on families but to provide everything from support to prayer for those families, McCray said.

In addition, the foundation has as a goal advocating for the repeal of "stand your ground" laws, such as the controversial legislation enacted in Florida. Under such laws, people are allowed to use deadly force if they believe they are in imminent danger. The law attracted national attention, and condemnation from civil rights organizations, who said the law encouraged vigilante behavior.

Initially, George Zimmerman considered invoking that law in his self defense claim in the death of Trayvon Martin, but changed his mind and stood trial for second-degree murder. He was found not guilty by a jury of six women.

McCray also said that the foundation will offer prayer sessions with the families of victims of gun violence in the form of telephone conversations with Martin and Fulton with a minister participating in the discussion.

“We call it the Circle of Prayer, and it is intended to be a personal conversation with Trayvon’s parents, who will offer a word of encouragement,” she said.

The foundation has already established a board of directors, led by Fulton and Martin, McCray said. She added that the contributions to the foundation will be used exclusively for the mission of the foundation and not for any legal fees.

The role of leaders of a nonprofit foundation was completely unexpected for the parents of the unarmed teenager, McCray said.

“This is something that they were not prepared for, not at all,” she said. “But this is more than a moment, this is a movement. The verdict will not define Trayvon Martin. His life, the movement is created and the work of this foundation will define Trayvon Martin.”

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(Photo: Courtesy of The Trayvon Martin Foundation)

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