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Trayvon Martin's parents take justice campaign to London

Ian Johnston / msnbc.com

Slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin's parents and brother with Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered British teenager Stephen Lawrence, outside the University of London Union in London, England, Friday. From left: Lawyer Daryl Parks, Trayvon's parents Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, Doreen Lawrence (front), Jahvaris Fulton and lawyer Benjamin Crump.

The parents of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin held a public meeting in England Friday to highlight the dangers of “profiling” people by the color of their skin or outward appearance.

Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton took to a stage at the University of London with the mother of a black British teenager, Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in a racist attack in Eltham, South London, in 1993.


Doreen Lawrence campaigned for years to get justice for her son, and two men, Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, were only found guilty of Stephen’s murder in January. Three other suspects remain at large.

Trayvon Martin, 17, who was unarmed and walking back to the home of his father’s fiancée, was shot dead by George Zimmerman, 28, in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26.

Zimmerman saw the teenager, called 911 and began following him. Zimmerman claims Martin attacked him and he shot in self-defense, citing Florida's "stand your ground" law. Zimmerman was not charged for more than six weeks, sparking protests across the U.S. and also in London, and is now awaiting trial for second-degree murder.

Ian Johnston/msnbc.com

Slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin's parents Sybrina Fulton (left) Tracy Martin (back) and brother, Jahvaris Fulton, (right) with Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered British teenager Stephen Lawrence.

With tears in her eyes, Fulton told an audience of journalists, activists, students and others, “I should not be looked at differently because of the color of my skin.”

“Although it’s a sad moment for us to be here, it warms my heart to know there are other people who are supporting us,” she said.

“I say to you today … just stand up, stand up and be heard. Don’t let this happen to another one of our children,” Fulton added.

“Until you have lost a child, it’s very difficult for you to understand how we feel, and the hurt and the pain that we have," she said.

Fulton also released a Mother's Day video appeal on YouTube and the Justice for Trayvon Martin Foundation's website Friday for people across the United States to campaign for "stand your ground" laws to be re-examined.

She said she would say a prayer on Mother's Day for other mothers who had lost their children to "senseless gun violence."

May 11: Two mothers, separated by space and time, but linked by a similar loss, met today to share their sadness and their stories of battles against injustice. Doreen Lawrence lost her son to a racist gang in London, while Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, lost her son to a shooting in Florida. ITV's Geraint Vincent reports.

"Nobody can bring our children back, but it would bring us comfort if we can help spare other mothers the pain that we will feel on Mother's Day and every day for the rest of our lives," Fulton said.

At the meeting in London, Tracy Martin said that Doreen Lawrence was “an inspiration" to their fight for justice.

“We can stand together on common ground … the loss of children. It certainly is a unique fraternity to be in, one that we didn’t choose to be in,” he said. “She [Lawrence] is proving you can turn tragedy into something positive… there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

He said profiling was “not just an issue of black and white.”

“It’s a profiling issue in general, profiling of all sorts,” he said.

After the public meeting, a vigil was held just outside Downing Street, home to the British prime minister's official residence.

Trayvon's parents spoke briefly and then stood with the crowd of about 100, who chanted "I am Trayvon Martin" and "No justice, no peace."

 18 years after racist slaying, fear still stalks London's streets 

The meeting was organized by the Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, JusticeTM.org, a website set up after Trayvon’s murder, and Occupy London.

“You cannot be afraid to leave home, you cannot be afraid to walk down the street and feel someone is going to do something to you. You have to be comfortable in your surroundings,” Tracy Martin said.

Sanford, Florida, the town at the center of the Trayvon Martin controversy, has named a new interim police chief, even as the prior chief remains on the payroll. The Grio's Joy-Ann Reid and msnbc's Thomas Roberts discuss.

He added that more needed to be done to teach people how to resolve conflict peacefully.

Ben Crump, a lawyer representing the family, said that the support for Trayvon’s family in England showed the case was an “international issue” and “one of human rights, not just profiling.”

The family of Trayvon Martin says the neighborhood watch captain who shot and killed the Florida team intentionally misled the judge who set his bail by failing to disclose that he had received online donations for a legal defense fund. NBC's Kerry Sanders reports.

It was a reminder to “the local people who so conveniently went to sweep the death of a young black child under the rug” that “every life is important, every life matters.”

Racist killers sentenced in UK's 'Rosa Parks moment'

“Trayvon was 17, Stephen was 18, they had so much life ahead of them,” Crump said. “These children did not deserve this tragic, untimely end to their lives.”

Zita Holbourne, of British campaign group Black Activists Rising Against Cuts, said there had been cases where people had died in police custody and at the hands of the state in the U.K. and “they’ve been predominantly black.”

“We’re not seeing the justice that we should see,” she said. “What we are seeing is family upon family having to set up campaigns to fight for justice.”

“I think it’s important to come together from across the globe to fight injustice and racism.”

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