Trayvon Martin’s mom writes letter to Michael Brown’s family

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(Trayvon Martin's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, enter the courtroom during George Zimmerman's trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla. Tuesday, June 25, 2013. Credit: Gary W. Green/POOL)

In the days since Michael Brown was shot and killed, protests have filled the streets in Ferguson.

But beyond the signs, marchers and tear gas, there’s the pain and grief of a family. It’s a pain Sybrina Fulton can relate to.

“I wish I had a word of automatic comfort, but I don’t,” she writes in an open letter to Brown’s parents.

Fulton has been there. She, too, lost a son in a shooting death that also triggered protests and outrage.

Her son was Trayvon Martin.

“I hate that you and your family must join this exclusive yet growing group of parents and relatives who have lost loved ones to senseless gun violence” she writes in the letter published in Time magazine. “But Michael is much more than a police/gun violence case; Michael is your son.”

Two and a half years ago on Feburary 27, 2012, Fulton’s son was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watch captain. The case quickly drew national attention as weeks went by without formal charges.

President Barrack Obama publicly addressed the case, much like he has in the Brown shooting.

And as we’ve seen with the Brown shooting, protests in support of Trayvon and his family went nationwide.

Zimmerman was charged on April 11, 1012. Then in July of 2013, he was found not guilty of second degree murder.

In the Brown shooting, a grand jury may begin to hear testimony as early as Wednesday and decide on whether to return an indictment against the police officer who killed him, Darren Wilson.

Claims of character assassination

Meanwhile, key questions in the case remain unanswered and a debate over what we do know plays out in public.

Police have released video of Brown taking part in an alleged convenience store robbery, and a purported friend of the Wilson called into a local radio station claiming that Brown attacked the officer and disobeyed an order to freeze. It’s an account that a source with detailed knowledge of the investigation later told CNN matches what Wilson himself has told investigators.

However, both the video and the account of events contrast sharply with what witnesses and family members have said about the incident and Brown’s character.

Perhaps in reference to this public debate, Fulton writes the Browns will “hear character assassinations about Michael which I am certain you already have.”

She adds, “This will incense and insult you. All of this will happen before and continue long after you have had the chance to lay your son to rest.”

“Honor your son and his life, not the circumstances of his alleged transgression,” Fulton writes. “I have always said that Trayvon was not perfect. But no one will ever convince me that my son deserved to be stalked and murdered. No one can convince you that Michael deserved to be executed.”

Fulton pledges that “neither of their lives shall be in vain” and ends her letter with a fiery call to action. “If they refuse to hear us, we will make them feel us.”

“Some will mistake that last statement as being negatively provocative. But feeling us means feeling our pain; imagining our plight as parents of slain children. We will no longer be ignored.”

Click here for more Ferguson coverage.


  • A mother of 8

    I understand what happened with this young man is sad and tragic all atthe same time, I’m by all means not racist but if this wasn’t a white cop who shot this young man would people still be protesting? Who knows many of our young men and woman black, white no matter the race have had things happen but to have armed police and soliders is just uncalled for…. I don’t know what this family is going threw but I hope in time they will have there justice threw the courts…

      • his life mattered

        Completely agree…. the fact that Michael Brown was yards away and was shot to death is the issue. The officer used unnecessary measures, people can say what they want but this is a racial issue.

  • Brittany

    its the fault of the police. Its their brutality if they weren’t so nonsensical and violent this world would have not run into some the obstacles that it already has.

  • Deborah

    The ways don’t justify the means!! The looting and all is brought in by outsiders and the ones like Al Sharpton are stirring the pot and to make matters worse he adds fuel to the fire. This reminds me of the Glenville riots and the Hough riots back in the 60’s. What is everyone accomplishing so far?? NOTHING!! Don’t always blame the cops. If you can do a much better job in this instance then switch place’s . Otherwise…………be quiet.

  • Tina Parker

    If this was a black man shooting another black person or a white person, we would never even hear about it!

  • Cassi

    everyone out there seems to agree that he was unarmed Jack. innocent until proven guilty does still exist. that officer didnt even stop him for anything dealing with that robbery. i myself am white and have dealt with cops who abuse their power since i was a kid. (no im not a criminal and never have been) im just thankful my story didnt end this way.

    • Alyson

      Cassi, with respect, armed or unarmed makes no difference. What matters is if the officer legitimately thought his life was in danger. Sadly, that is a split second decision. Does it go wrong sometimes? Yes, it can. BUT, if the officer genuinely thought his life was in danger, t hen I don’t fault him. I certainly would not want to be in a situation where I had to make a split second decision of “Their life or mine” while at work…

      • Elizabeth

        They are trained to deal with those type of situations, If he was afraid then he should’ve tried switching occupations.Unfortunately, whatever academy he trained at FAILED!!! And now an innocent young man is DEAD!

      • lindz

        To Elizabeth, you say an innocent young man is dead – im sorry but when you rob a store that hardly makes you innocent! and from my understanding on everything ive read and heard about this case not only did he rob a store he also beat up the cop and attempted to take his gun which makes the cop in the right to shoot him! Im very curious how these people think violently protesting is going to make a difference? all its going to do is prove right all the negative things that people already think of blacks!! Even the black people I work with are ashamed of the way those people are acting- it gives a bad name to all of the decent ones.

  • Joey

    I’m sorry, but the last paragraph of her letter was just a threat. She should be held accountable. Period. Regardless of the situation, justice or injustice, she shouldn’t be allowed to incite others or make threats.

    • Elizabeth

      Her SON, her baby was stalk and murdered by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was acquitted on all charges. Can you imagine what this woman has been through? Do you have children? Can you imagine someone murdering your child and getting away it? The justice system failed.She has every right in expressing her emotions, which by the way doesn’t sound like a threat at all!!

  • Alyson

    How is it racism, if NEITHER side, blacks or whites know what happened? Officials have not released any information. Yet she is assuming that it is injustice and racism? Is it POSSIBLE that he was committing a crime? Yes, it is. Is it POSSIBLE that he was not and the officer was wrong? Yes, it is. But to immediately cry racism is racist in itself.

  • GodlovesGays

    These women are grieving stop getting so defensive. I know how I would feel my son was murdered by a cop.

  • Richard Ellis

    The only thing her son did wrong was not realize that Zimmerman had a weapon, when confronted by a bully and wanna be tough guy he stood up for himself. Zimmerman should be in prison serving many years. Michael Brown robbed a store, choked the owner, walked out with stolen items, then attacked a police officer not once but twice. Why would she want her son to be linked with Brown?

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