SANFORD – Natalie Jackson spoke to theGrio outside of the gates of the Retreat at Twin Lakes, the gated community where Trayvon Martin was killed while visiting his father and his dad’s fiancée. As a lawyer for the Martin family, Jackson has been with them constantly in recent days, assisting them as they publicly grieve for their son, while funneling media interest in his case into their efforts to attain an arrest for George Zimmerman. Zimmerman, who killed Trayvon Martin on February 26, was not charged, claiming that he shot in self defense. Jackson explains why his claims are not enough to satisfy her clients’ need for justice.
theGrio: What, to the family, would be a satisfactory conclusion?
Natalie Jackson: An arrest. That’s all they’ve asked for in this case, an arrest that should’ve been made the night their son was killed.
Are there any plans by the family to sue the Home Owner’s Association that allowed Zimmerman to patrol with a gun, or perhaps Zimmerman himself, in a wrongful death suit?
They’ve only gotten to the point of the arrest. They are spending all their energy and all their time trying to get an arrest and making sure they do public appearances so they can get people stirred up. If it wasn’t for the public, they know that their son would have never gotten justice. And I will tell you, they expect a fair trial, and they believe the outcome of a fair trial will be a verdict of guilty against Zimmerman.
What is the family’s response to all of the requests for additional inquiries into Trayvon Martin’s death? For instance, a march that was to be held today, but was canceled, called for another independent investigation.
This is the reason there should have been an arrest. We should not have to get to this. A little black child should not have to have massive protests nationwide to get justice. I think that’s why we are seeing this response from the public. The people are saying, ‘We’re not going to let you kill our children and ignore it.’
As with the other protests, this has gotten much bigger than the family, the lawyers, and everything. This is in the people’s hands. So we can’t stop the protests; we don’t want to stop them, because we know that we need that exposure, and we know that this is the way that Trayvon will get justice. It’s not only for Trayvon. It’s for every other kid that may be racially profiled in the future.
We just learned that Congress is going to hold hearings about the Trayvon Martin case. Does the family know about this?
I just heard it from you! We’ve just been getting updates minute by minute. And that’s the thing I think it’s really important for the public to know — the family is learning about stuff as they learn about it. This is a family who’s grieving. They heard the 911 tapes minutes before the media heard the 911 tapes. This is a family that’s grieving in public. But it’s so important to them that their son’s story get out that they’re willing to do that.
What are the family’s feelings about the public’s support?
They are so appreciative. They’ve gotten love, they’ve gotten notes, they’ve gotten cards, they’ve gotten emails, they’ve gotten tweets. It’s a very nice thing to have someone validate your position, and to say “your son mattered,” not only to you, but to them, too. That’s what the public has done.
President Obama said it best today, that if he had a son he would look like Trayvon. Trayvon is America’s son. He was an all-American kid. At this point, Sybrina realizes he’s everyone’s son.
Last night Rev. Sharpton took up a collection to help the family pay for their expenses. Is there a place where people are officially collecting donations?
No, we haven’t set up a place right now. There are a lot of issues with setting that up. So there isn’t that I know of. I believe that’s why Rev. Sharpton did it — you’ll have to ask him — but the family has not worked. They’ve been doing a lot of media from city to city, and they’ve been using their own resources to go city to city. But it’s so important to them. They have not complained about it. This is so important. They wanted to let the people know at the rallies — that’s why they come to the rallies. They haven’t had any sleep, because they also are grieving at the same time. But they wanted to let the people know, ‘thank you so much your support.’ The people of Sanford have just been so great to them. I think that for them, it’s kind of cathartic to be able to have all this support. It’s like a mass grieving for Trayvon.
Do they have any other special messages for the public, or anything that they want them to remember, as the family moves on from this point in their struggle?
As Sybrina said, this is not about black or white. For the people who are trying to bring in those divisive issues about black or white — it isn’t. This is about justice. This is an American issue. Trayvon is America’s child.