Trayvon Martin’s mom to speak at West Michigan colleges to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy

fultonSybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, holds up a card with a photo of her son when she spoke at the National Urban League’s annual conference on July 26, 2013 in Philadelphia. Sybrina Fulton will speak at Grand Valley’s Fieldhouse Arena on January 19, the federal holiday commemorating the life of slain civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She will also speak that evening at Grand Rapids Community College, and on January 20 at Davenport University.Matt Rourke/ AP

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin – whose fatal shooting in 2012 sparked a nationwide debate and protests over racial profiling – will speak in January at programs celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Community College and Davenport University.

Fulton has become an activist since her 17-year-old son’s shooting in Florida that provoked widespread discussion about “stand your ground” laws.

Martin was killed by an armed volunteer neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, who was later acquitted of second-degree murder charges. Fulton established the Trayvon Martin Foundation to raise awareness of how violent crime impacts families of victims, and to support and advocate for those families.

Fulton will speak first at Grand Valley’s Fieldhouse Arena at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 19, the federal holiday honoring the slain civil rights leader. She will join GRCC for its 29th year anniversary celebrating King’s life at 6:30 p.m. in the GRCC Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse, speaking on the theme “Empowering Our Youth.”

On Tuesday, Jan. 20, she will speak at 10 a.m. at Davenport University at the Sneden Center on the W.A. Lettinga Campus in Grand Rapids.

The colleges collaborate annually on the keynote speaker for the holiday. All King events on the campuses are free and open to the public.

Tracy Martin, left, and Sybrina Fulton, parents of slain teen Trayvon Martin, arrive in court for the first day of the trial of George Zimmerman, accused in the fatal shooting of their son. The photo was taken June 10, 2013 in Seminole Circuit Court in Sanford, Fla.Joe Burbank/ The Orlando Sentinel

Fulton earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Florida Memorial University and worked for the Miami-Dade County Housing Development Agency for more than two decades.

Grand Valley’s commemoration of King’s life and legacy will run January 19-24. A second speaker, Marc Lamont Hill, CNN contributor, author and activist, will speak at the Kirkhof Center on Wednesday, January 21. The time is still being determined. For more information about GVSU activities that week, visit the website.

Monica Scott is the Grand Rapids K-12 education writer. Email her and follow her on Twitter @MScottGR or Facebook