It has been more than a month since George Zimmerman was acquitted by a jury of the murder of Trayvon Martin. In their first British media interview since the verdict, the teenager’s parents told the BBC’s Rajini Vaidyanathan they are working hard to build a legacy for their son, and are beginning the difficult process of forgiving his killer.
It has been 18 months since their son, Trayvon Martin, was killed by neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.
Since the verdict that divided the US, the 17-year-old’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, say that while they are still disappointed by the jury’s decision, they want something good to come out of their loss.
“We’ve said the verdict will not define Trayvon’s life,” Ms Fulton said. “We are just committed to change, to being some type of positive influence.”
The focus of their efforts is the Travyon Martin Foundation, under which they are pushing to change the laws on self-defence.
“We certainly have a long way to go, because when we have teenagers that are not safe walking down the street and you have laws that will justify somebody taking their life, that means we have a lot of work to do,” Ms Fulton said.
“Trayvon was no criminal,” she adds. “He was not committing any crime. If you see the pictures of him, he was always smiling; he was always happy. Those are the things we want people to focus on most about Trayvon.”
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Mr Martin and Ms Fulton want their son’s death to lead to concrete changes in the law.
They are pushing for a “Trayvon Martin amendment” to be brought in, to challenge controversial “stand your ground” laws.
Variants of the robust self-defence measure are legal in a number of US states, but Mr Martin and Ms Fulton say they encourage aggressors.
George Zimmerman was not arrested for six weeks after he shot Trayvon Martin dead because, under Florida law, you are allowed to use lethal force if you believe your life is in grave danger.
The jury in the trial acquitted him, believing his assertion that he acted in self-defence.
Trayvon Martin would have turned 18 this year, and could have registered to vote.