EAST ST. LOUIS, Il. (KMOX)-The parents of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida were in East St. Louis Friday, calling for an end to senseless violence.
For Tracy Martin it was a return to his hometown.
The Martin’s received a warm welcome from a couple of hundred people attending a Stop The Violence rally at the North End Missionary Baptist Church.
Trayvon’s mother, Sabrina Fulton, told the gathering that Trayvon was no different from any of their kids, “He’s your son, he’s your stepson, he’s your God-son, he’s your nephew, he’s all of our sons.”
Fulton says to stop the violence, “We have to change the minds of our children today.” She told the crowd to talk to their kids every day, give them hugs and kisses and give them love. She said Trayvon was never afraid to give her a kiss, or a hug, in public, “That’s the child I raised. That’s the child that we raised together.”
Martin told the gathering that he is very proud to be from East St. Louis, saying , “It feels good to be home.”
He told the gathering that when he was growing up in East St. Louis his neighbors helped his parents keep him in line. He says that’s what’s needed now, “We have to come together. We have to start embracing each other.”
Martin also called for them to take guns away from children, ”We have to replace them with something. First thing we have to replace ‘em with is God. If you don’t know God you’ll never know yourself. The second thing we have to replace ‘em with is love. The third thing that I think that’s going to get us out of this; if you’re going to take it away replace it with a book. Educate our children because without education, it’s a lost cause.”
As he left the church, KMOX, asked Martin what he was hoping to get across to those at the rally, “Just tell the people who it doesn’t take national attention to help our city. We just need to help each other, help each other. Trayvon’s situation was just one instance, we have more broader issues. It felt good to be home. This is my home and I love them”