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Seattle University

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Examining Race

Written by Mike Thee
September 28, 2015

Sybrina Fulton will speak at Seattle University on Monday, Oct. 5. All faculty, staff, students and alumni are invited to attend her presentation at 2 p.m. in Pigott Auditorium. (RSVP to moralmondays@seattleu.edu.) 

Fulton is the mother of Trayvon Martin, who died at the age of 17 during the violent confrontation in 2012. Her talk at Seattle University, titled "We Are All Trayvon," is being arranged by Moral Mondays, the #BlackLivesMatter Initiative at SU. 

Moral Mondays at SU was begun in fall 2014 by Tyrone Brown, '10, a staff member in the Division of Student Development. Brown had traveled to Ferguson, Mo., that summer to participate in the "Weekend of Resistance." 

"I wanted to bear witness and see for myself the place where Michael Brown was killed," he says, referring to the unarmed 18-year-old African American who was shot by a police officer. 

"When I came back, I started to ask 'What could I do?'" 

Inspired by the Moral Monday protest movement in North Carolina, Brown began offering programming every Monday during fall, winter and spring quarters. "As each quarter went along, it took on a life of its own with different groups plugging into it," he says. 

Moral Mondays has three goals: (1) advocating for Seattle University as a place and space for the national conversation on race, police violence, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement; (2) focus on the black presence-past, present and future-at Seattle University; and (3) highlight the ways in which Seattle University directly or indirectly contributes to the problems and/or solutions facing black communities. 

Around the time that Brown was discerning what he could do to help Seattle University address issues of race, he met with President Stephen Sundborg, S.J. When asked by the president what he had in mind for what would become Moral Mondays at SU, part of Brown's response was that he wanted to bring someone like Trayvon Martin's mother to campus. "And so I figured we should make that happen." 

That intention is now being realized. This will be Fulton's first visit to Seattle; her presentations at other campuses and venues have garnered rave reviews. 

"Sybrina Fulton's visit is an opportunity for the campus and greater community to understand the larger context surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin, hear about the important work of the Trayvon Martin Foundation, and 'bear witness' to a black parent's love for their child," says Brown. "I think the impact of having her speak at SU will extend beyond her visit to campus." 

Fulton's visit is being made possible with the help of such campus partners as Student Government of Seattle University, Social Justice Campus Ministry, Office of the Dean of Students, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Black Student Union, Global African Studies and the Division of Student Development. Other cosponsors include The Hansberry Project, Social Justice Fund Northwest, First African Methodist Episcopal Church, Ellis-Smith Family, and Voices Rising.

In addition to the afternoon presentation for the campus community, Fulton will also speak at an evening event geared to the wider community. Tickets for the 7 p.m. event in Campion Ballroom can be purchased here: http://wearealltrayvon.brownpapertickets.com/. Please note that tickets for evening program are $1 for students and $5 for faculty and staff. 

For more information about Moral Mondays, including other upcoming events, click here.