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Rest in Power
Cover of Rest in Power
Rest in Power
The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin
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Trayvon Martin’s parents take readers beyond the news cycle with an account only they could give: the intimate story of a tragically foreshortened life and the rise of a movement. “A...
Trayvon Martin’s parents take readers beyond the news cycle with an account only they could give: the intimate story of a tragically foreshortened life and the rise of a movement. “A...
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  • Trayvon Martin’s parents take readers beyond the news cycle with an account only they could give: the intimate story of a tragically foreshortened life and the rise of a movement.
     
    “A reminder—not only of Trayvon’s life and death but of the vulnerability of black lives in a country that still needs to be reminded they matter.”—USA Today
     
    Now a docuseries on the Paramount Network produced by Shawn Carter
     
    Years after his tragic death, Trayvon Martin’s name is still evoked every day. He has become a symbol of social justice activism, as has his hauntingly familiar image: the photo of a child still in the process of becoming a young man, wearing a hoodie and gazing silently at the camera. But who was Trayvon Martin, before he became, in death, an icon? And how did one black child’s death on a dark, rainy street in a small Florida town become the match that lit a civil rights crusade?
     
    Rest in Power, told through the compelling alternating narratives of his parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, answers those questions from the most intimate of sources. The book takes us beyond the news cycle and familiar images to give the account that only his parents can offer: the story of the beautiful and complex child they lost, the cruel unresponsiveness of the police and the hostility of the legal system, and an inspiring journey from grief and pain to power, and from tragedy and senselessness to purpose.

Excerpts-

  • From the cover Chapter 1

    Sybrina

    Our Lives Before

    Who was Trayvon Martin? I've been asked that question a million times since his death. In death, Trayvon Martin became a martyr and a symbol of racial injustice, a name and a face on T-shirts, posters, and protest signs.

    When he was alive, of course, he was none of those things. He was simply a boy, growing into a young man, with all of the wonder and promise and struggle that that journey entails.

    What else was he? He was loved. Trayvon had struggles—academically, even behaviorally at times—but he loved his friends and family, sports, music, and his dreams of flight. And he saw that love returned and those dreams coming within his reach. In other words, he was a boy, and because he was mine, he was (along with his brother) one of the most important and cherished boys in the world.

    His story begins with my own.

    My mother named me Sybrina with a y. When I was born, Sabrina with an a was a very common name. "I wanted her name to be different," my mother said. And so it was Sybrina, and if our given birth name is an indication of our destinies, then from the beginning I was blessed and cursed to stand out.

    I was born in Miami, but we soon moved to Opa-locka, which was a working-class Miami suburb. My mother worked at the post office as a clerk. My birth father was a longshoreman, who died young from heart failure. In 1978, when I was eleven, my mom remarried, to a police officer who worked on the streets of Miami. I was a flower girl at my mother's wedding, dressed in a flowing ivory gown, hair styled up in a bun, and happy. My stepdad was a powerful, strict and taciturn, presence in our house. We lovingly called him Dad.

    I was the baby, the youngest of four children, with two brothers who always looked out for me; an older sister; and two stepsisters. We weren't rich, but my parents made sure we were all well provided for. We never had to worry about our electricity being turned off or not having a place to stay or a car to drive. We had big Christmases, went on summer vacations, and always attended church on Sunday. We were taught the importance of work. My parents had good jobs and high expectations, and they expected me to get a good job, too. Nobody gave anything to me. I had to earn and work for everything I wanted.

    We lived in a predominantly black neighborhood, although within the neighborhood there was a blend of different nationalities: Cuban, Jamaican, Bahamian, and Haitian. Back then, in the 1970s, Opa-locka was a paradise. Children played everywhere: in the street, at the school, in the park. There was a house where a lady sold candy and a corner store where we would get soda and chips. Early on, my mom and dad taught me and my two older brothers the proper way of doing things. As soon as I came home from school, I had to change into my play clothes, and before I was allowed to go out and play I had to clean up and do my homework. Then and only then would I be allowed to go outside. We'd play tag and run up and down the street. Even then my dad, the disciplinarian policeman, gave us our perimeters: we had to stay within the two stop signs on our street.

    Opa-locka was changing during the 1970s, like a lot of America at the time, suffering from an influx of drugs and an escalation of street violence. Despite that, my mom and dad created a loving and safe environment for us: what went on outside our doors was different, separate, foreign. There were problems raging out there, but we didn't see or feel them. We were protected. I never saw the violence; I never saw drugs.

    By the time I was in my teens, my dad had become a detective, but he...

About the Author-

  • Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin are the founders of The Trayvon Martin Foundation, which aims to create community programming and raise awareness of the impact of gun violence and racial profiling on families. Fulton and Martin live in the Miami, Florida, area.

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