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:
BEFORE YOU GO
08/26/2014 7:49 AM EDT
The Toll On Michael Brown's Family
USA Today's Yamiche Alcindor provides an intimate look at how Michael Brown's parents have been dealing with the loss of their son:
Phones constantly ring with reporters asking for interviews or family members offering support. Last week, as demands reached a tipping point, both parents moved into hotels to shield themselves.
In the days leading up to the funeral, Brown's mother continued to cry and spoke in whispers as she tried to explain her feelings.
"They say tomorrow is going to be the hardest day, but I think today was — just seeing my baby laying there, cold," Lesley McSpadden, 34, told USA TODAY. "It did something to my heart. It's too much. It's too much."
08/26/2014 7:44 AM EDT
New Audio Allegedly Captures Moment Michael Brown Was Shot
New audio has surfaced that allegedly captures the moment when Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot dead by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, on Aug. 9.
CNN aired the unverified recording on Monday night. Six shots can be heard, followed by a pause, then several more. A private autopsy performed on Aug. 17 at the request of Brown's family found that the 18-year-old was shot 6 times, including twice in the head.
08/25/2014 12:58 PM EDT
Al Sharpton: America, It's Time To Deal With Policing
08/25/2014 12:53 PM EDT
Al Sharpton: All Of Us Are Required To Respond
Rev. Al Sharpton: All of us are required to respond to this #MikeBrownfuneral— HuffPost BlackVoices (@blackvoices) August 25, 2014
08/25/2014 12:48 PM EDT
Benjamin Crump: We Will Not Accept Three-Fifths Justice For Michael Brown
08/25/2014 12:28 PM EDT
Funeral Program Includes Tribute From Michael Brown's Parents
USA Today reporter, Yamiche Alcindor shares photo of program which includes tributes to Michael Brown from his mother and father
08/25/2014 12:22 PM EDT
Michael Brown's Stepmother: He Prophesied His Own Death
Stepmother of #MichaelBrown said the late teen "pretty much prophesied his own death and didn't realize it."— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) August 25, 2014