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Parents of Trayvon Martin speak to a crowd in Knoxville

1:21 AM, Mar 10, 2013   |    comments
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Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, parents of Trayvon Martin, were special guests at a service held at Overcoming Believers Church in Knoxville.

"Kingdom United: THE GATHERING" is a program the church organized to inspire hope and begin dialogue between community leaders and people from all walks of life, as well as to honor those who have paved the way for community growth and empowerment. Speakers included Minister Chrystal Armstrong, Dr. Pete Sulack, and Hallerin Hilton Hill. Also, Dr. Harold Middlebrook was given the Trailblazer Award.

The special program was already planned; however, attendee Darryl Richmond said the presence of Martin and Fulton took the service to another level. Richmond said, "I took away from it that there's something I need to be doing to bring justice to America, starting with the community first."

Trayvon Martin's parents said it's been a struggle for them since their son was killed on the night of February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, but the couple has been traveling to cities across the country hoping to help curb violence in communities.

Fulton, the 17 year old's mother, said, "If we were not doing anything positive to try and help somebody else I think we would be doing damage to ourselves."

Overcoming Believers Church Pastor Daryl Arnold said there have been too many killings of young people in the city. Pastor Arnold said, "I don't want to preach here on Sundays and then have to bury someone on Mondays."

Richmond added, "The Trayvon Martin situation was one of the most well-known ones, but these things happen every single day."

Just one day before "Kingdom United: THE GATHERING", police responded to a shots fired call in East Knoxville on Woodbine Avenue. Police say the 17 year old victim later died.

It's those types of incidents Pastor Arnold and the nearly 700 people who filled Overcoming Believers Church want to stop.

"We need something different. We don't want to see this happen again," said Pastor Arnold.

Trayvon Martin's parents say they're using what happened to their son as a tool to make a change in communities everywhere. And they're encouraging other parents who have lost their child to violence.

Sybrina Fulton said, "I would simply tell the parents they are where we were one year ago and if it had not been for God giving us strength to just wake up in the morning and have a semi-normal day, we would be lost."

Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton have started the Justice Trayvon Martin Foundation as a way to help others who find themselves in a similar situation. Click here for more information on the foundation.

Trial of George Zimmerman, the man accused of fatally shooting the teenager, is scheduled for June 10th. Benjamin L. Crump, attorney for Trayvon Martin's family, said Zimmerman's attorney has dropped the "Stand Your Ground" defense.

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