Watch Matt Lauer Interview Trayvon Martin's Parents and Brother On the "Today Show"
This morning, Trayvon Martin's parents and brother joined Matt Lauer on the Today Show. The interview took place only days after George Zimmerman was acquitted for murdering the teenage boy.
According to CBS, Trayvon's mother, Sybrina Fulton said she was "stunned" by the verdict. During an interview on July 18, she said, "I thought surely that he would be found guilty of second degree murder, manslaughter at the least."
This morning, Fulton and Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father, told Lauer that they were "still shocked" and "still in disbelief" over the course of the trial.
Much of the interview focused on the racial aspect of the trial. When Lauer asked his guests if they believed race played a role in the court's decision, Martin said bluntly, "I think that if Trayvon had been white, this wouldn't have never happened. So, obviously, race played some type of role."
He also spoke out against Juror B37 who said she was certain the the voice on the 911 call was not Trayvon, but Zimmerman pleading for help. Juror B37 has been a controversial figure in the wake of the trial, especially due to her announcement (and subsequent reversed decision) that she would publish a book about the acquittal.
Noting that the Martins "rely on faith in hard times," Lauer proceeded to ask "does faith allow you to forgive George Zimmerman?"
Martin responded that "the Bible says that you have to forgive and forget" but also that "forgiveness is like a healing process," in that it takes time. But Lauer probed even further, asking if the Trayvon's family had any sympathy for Zimmerman, who, according to his lawyer, is facing death threats and in hiding.
The trial and aftermath have polarized America and forged a battle according to racial lines; Many Americans are vehement over Zimmerman's acquittal, and they have taken to the streets to protest injustice. While many protests have been peaceful, Lauer acknowledged that some have turned violent. George Zimmerman certainly does have a reason to fear.
Fulton said that she does not know if she has any sympathy for Zimmerman. "What we do know is about the victims. We sit on the victims' seat," she added. Trayvon's mother also lamented that the legal system is sending a racist message and "a terrible message to other little black and brown boys that you can't walk fast, you can't walk slow."
One of Lauer's most interesting points was about the nature of the U.S. legal system. He likened Zimmerman's situation to that of Casey Anthony, another Florida court case that awakened the nation. Lauer said that like Zimmerman, Casey Anthony "was cleared of murder charges for his daughter, who's living in hiding and is an outcast."
"Do you think that's what the system intends for someone who is acquitted of charges like these?" he added.
While Zimmerman has technically been acquitted, he will most likely never return to his life before the trial. It begs the question of whether any clear winner arose from this case. Perhaps Zimmerman's lead attorney, Mark O'Mara, is the only party who truly walks away with his head held high.
Martin said that he would like the government to look into filing a civil suit because he believes that more could be done.
The reality is that while the past cannot change and that Trayvon Martin's family will never get him back, the justice system can change for the future. Fulton and Martin, together with the many Americans who feel betrayed by the system, can work to create an atmosphere where race is neither divisive nor fatal like it was for Trayvon. In addition, they are promoting a system that is just and colorblind.
Watch the full interview on Today.com.
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