Trayvon Martin’s mother: ‘Disgusting that black people still treated like animals’

Travyon Martin’s mother has said the killing of George Floyd shows black people are “still being treated like animals” and it is “disgusting”.

Sybrina Fulton told Sky News it was “awful seeing what happened” to Mr Floyd in Minneapolis last month and it “brought memories back of my son and the tragic death that he had”.

Trayvon Martin was killed in 2012, with George Zimmerman cleared of murdering the unarmed 17-year-old the following year.

His death also sparked widespread protests in the US.

Trayvon Martin
Image:Trayvon Martin was shot dead in Florida in 2012

Ms Fulton was speaking on the programme Race and Revolution: Is Change Going to Come?, which looked at the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter protests, examining institutional racism and how to fix it.

She said it was “disgusting to know that we are still being treated like animals, like we’re three-fifths human”.

She called the death of George Floydin police custody “heartbreaking” but was more positive about the future following worldwide anti-racism protests over his killing.

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“I definitely feel like change is going to come. But we have to keep the pressure on,” said Ms Fulton.

“And make sure we have laws in place and make sure we make the necessary changes, so people don’t continue to treat us a certain way.”

George Floyd. Pic: Shutterstock
Image:George Floyd was killed in police custody in May. Pic: Shutterstock

She said it was a positive sign that many of the anti-racism protests were being led by young people.

“The difference I see now is a lot of young people are involved and that’s a plus,” she said.

Ms Fulton also called for all those involved in the killing of Mr Floyd – who died after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, placed his knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds – to be held accountable.

And she welcomed that the incident had been filmed – in footage that was viewed around the world.

The programme is looking at the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter protests, examining institutional racism and how we fix it.

How can white people effectively fight racism?

Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, and the three other officers at the scene during his killing were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Also among the guests on the Sky News programme was British actor David Oyelowo, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role as Martin Luther King in the movie Selma.

He encapsulated why the killing in Minneapolis has struck a chord with black communities, saying: “There was so much about Derek Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck that was symbolic of what we as black people have had to endure for centuries.

“Whether it’s the enslavement of black people, whether it’s the colonisation of so much of Africa and what we still endure now in modern life, and how long we have been begging, pleading, imploring that we been seen as fully human.”

David Oyelowo
Image:David Oyelowo said the entertainment industry was’ shocking’ when it comes to the representation of black people

He was damning of the entertainment industry, saying it was “disgraceful, shameful, shocking, statistically-speaking when it comes to the representation of black people”.

And he said it was “doubly insidious” because a lot of how the world absorbs culture and has a notion of what the world is, comes from TV and film.

Mr Oyelowo also said “racism in the UK, America and across the world is tied to systems of oppression that have existed for centuries”, adding: “Britain has done a terrible job of educating society on who black people have been historically.”

But he was also more hopeful about the future.

‘Who’s been asked where are you really from?’

He said: “I am incredibly proud of my British heritage. I want to be proud of being British and the Britain that it wants to be going forward. Britain needs to accept what it did in the past.

“We, as black people in the US and UK, we want to share in the pie we helped to create. It’s not about supremacy, it’s not about revenge, it’s about sharing in what we helped build.”

Former universities minister Sam Gyimah said he agreed with the removal of the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol earlier this month.

The former Tory MP, who is now a Liberal Democrat, said he understood why protesters pulled it down but said he was against vandalism.

Also, overwhelmingly all black members of the virtual studio audience said they had faced racism and discrimination in their lives.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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