WASHINGTON - Sybrina Fulton, the mother of teenaged shooting victim Trayvon Martin, has written a heartbreaking letter to the family of Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager who was shot and killed by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer earlier this month.
Published Monday by Time magazine, Fulton's letter draws on her experience following the 2012 shooting of her son, 17 at the time, by a neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman. Tried for manslaughter, Zimmerman was acquitted by a jury, under Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law.
In her letter to the Brown family, Fulton offers wise counsel, both about how to deal with being in the spotlight, and how to honor your child's memory.
"You will ... hear character assassinations about Michael which I am certain you already have. 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," Fulton writes. "I know this because I lived and continue to live this."
The parallels that Fulton sees between the two families serve to make her letter even more meaningful. "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," she writes.
In the wake of Brown's shooting, Ferguson police released photos they claim showed the teenager threatening a store owner, but they later admitted the store incident had no connection to Brown's fatal shooting. On Monday, a county coroner's report alleged that Brown had marijuana in his system when he died. Still, the police have yet to fully explain the circumstances leading up to Brown's death.
In her letter, Fulton advises the Browns, "Honor your son and his life, not the circumstances of his alleged transgressions."
"But know this: neither of their lives shall be in vain. The galvanizations of our communities must be continued beyond the tragedies. ... We will bond, continue our fights for justice, and make them remember our children in an appropriate light."
See below for the latest in Ferguson: