A mother knows her child’s voice.
She never wants to hear her child scream; even if he is a tall, lanky man-child with her name and praying hands tattooed on his body.
Trayvon Martin’s mother took the stand today in the trial of George Zimmerman. The all-female jury has been asked by the state of Florida to determine if ZImmerman acted in self-defense when he killed Trayvon or if he should be convicted of second degree murder.
I use Trayvon’s first name here because he was a child. A young man whose life was just beginning. A young man who simply walked to the store to buy a pack of Skittles and a drink. Yet when he was walking back to his father’s house in a condo community last year, George Zimmerman viewed Trayvon as a threat.
Maybe it was the gray hoodie Trayvon was wearing to shield his head from the rain. Or the fact that Trayvon’s skin was the color of caramel. Or maybe Zimmerman was a paranoid man obsessed with making sure his community was safe.
But safe from whom?
That is ultimately one of the questions this trial rests on since Zimmerman says he shot Trayvon in self-defense.
So who screamed when Zimmerman and Trayvon got into a violent confrontation? A confrontation that would not have happened if Zimmerman had heeded a police dispatcher’s instructions not to follow Trayvon.
Today the jury heard from Sybrina Fulton, who had been waiting a long time to tell the jury about her son. She was strong, composed — fearless even. This was her moment to speak for her son. To identify those harrowing screams as his.
When prosecutors played the 911 tape from that night and asked Fulton who she thought was screaming, she replied: “Trayvon Benjamin Martin.”
When a mother uses her child’s middle name, you know she is serious.
In every trial where a life has been taken, the victim must be heard.
Today was Trayvon’s day to be heard.