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Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, spoke to Portlanders about her experience losing a son to racial profiling Monday night. April 13, 2015 (KOIN 6 News) Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, spoke to Portlanders about her experience losing a son to racial profiling Monday night. April 13, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)

Trayvon Martin’s mother to speak in.

KOIN 6 News Staff PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, spoke in Portland Monday night about the loss of her son and the message she hopes his legacy will instill inothers.

The free event was sponsored by the YWCA of Greater Portland at Marantha Church on Northeast 12th Avenue.

Fulton, whose teenage son was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in an incident that sparked a nationwide debate about race,talked about transforming the tragedy into social change.

“It’s not a speech, it’s not a lecture,” Fulton said. “It’s a message.”

The mother of two shared the experience oflosing a son to the largecrowd Monday night. After Trayvon was shot, Fulton said she didn’t feel like she was going to make it.

“I didn’t feel like I was going to have a normal life or a regular life after my son had been murdered,” she said. “I just want my life back.”

But after grieving, Fulton said she finally reached a breaking point. She said she realized it was her time to stand up for what she believed in.

“I told myself, you can do better than this, you can do better than just cry,” Fulton said. “I decided at that moment that I had to do more, I had to be the voice for my son.”

Fulton has sincecreated the Trayvon Martin Foundation, which aims to “create awareness of how violent crime impacts the families of the victims and to provide support and advocacy for those families in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin,”the nonprofit’s website states.

She said her son’s death was a reminder of the ugliness that still lives on in American society.

“I, too, wanted to believe that we had come much further than we did,” she said. “You cannot tell me that it was my son’s hoodie. so if I take the hoodie out of the equation, what do we have left? We have the color of his skin.”

Fulton reminded the audience that issues regardingrace relations in America are nothing new. She said because it’s an ugly, uncomfortable subject, it’s often swept under the rug. But that’s something she hopes to change.

Trayvon’s mother urged Portlanders to get involved in local politics and reach out to nonprofit organizations when they feel passionately about an issue.

“There’s something you can do,” Fulton said. “When you are upset about a story, a case, a tragedy that’s going on, I will challenge you to connect with one of those organizations.”

She said registering to vote, and voting in small, local elections, can make a big impact when it comes to societal issues.

“Make sure that you’re lending your voice, make sure that you’re lending your talent,” she said. “Because if you really want to make a difference and you really want to make a change, that change will start here with you.”

Trayvon Martin was 17 when he was shot in 2012. Zimmerman claimed he shot Martin in self defense, although Martin was unarmed at the time, and was found not guilty after a high profile trial.