Minutes after learning that George Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in the killing of their son, Trayvon Martin, a stoic Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton addressed a crowd on Wednesday at the National Action Network convention in Washington, D.C.
Before the parents took the podium, the Rev. Al Sharpton reflected on all that had transpired to bring them to this point. "Forty-five days ago, Trayvon Martin was murdered. No arrest was made. The chief of police in Sanford announced, after his review of the evidence, there would be no arrest," he said. "An outcry from all over this country came because his parents refused to leave it there."
Sharpton also stressed to the crowd, many of whom applauded and rose to their feet when the family and their attorneys walked into the conference room, that the arrest in no way constitutes a victory. "We do not want anyone high-fiving tonight," he said. "There are no winners here. They've lost their son. This is not about gloating; this is about pursuing justice."
Sybrina Fulton spoke briefly, thanking God and supporters, before collapsing into tears. "We wanted nothing more, nothing less — we just wanted an arrest. And we got it. Thank you, Lord; thank you, Jesus," she said to applause. "And I want to say thank you, from my heart to your heart."
Tracy Martin emphasized that Wednesday's announcement is just the beginning. "We got a long way to go, and we have faith," he said. "From the first time we marched, I looked to the sky and I told myself, 'When I walk, I will walk by faith.' We will continue to hold hands on this journey — white, black, Hispanic — and continue to march and march until the right thing is done."
Sharpton also thanked the supporters from around the country. "The prosecutor and the governor did not make a decision based on public pressure, but I think they decided to review it based on public pressure," he said. "That credit should go to the nameless, faceless people — black, white, Latino and Asian — all those who put hoods on and said, 'Take another look at this.' "
Attorney Benjamin Crump said that, moving forward, he feels confident that there will be a fair trial. "The moral arc is long, and this has been a long journey," he said. "But it's been towards justice."
Cynthia Gordy is The Root's Washington reporter.