Few people can know exactly what the family of Michael Brown, the Missouri teen whose death at the hands of police has spurred widespread protests, is going through in the weeks since his fatal shooting.
Unfortunately, Sybrina Fulton is one who can.
Fulton is the mother of Trayvon Martin, the Florida high schooler shot by a neighborhood watch captain in similar circumstances. In the wake of her son’s death, Fulton started the Trayvon Martin Foundation to provide support for the families of victims of violent crime.
“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,” Fulton writes. “Further complicating the pain and loss in this tragedy is the fact that the killer of your son is alive, known, and currently free.”
Warning that their lives will be “forever changed,” Fulton assures Brown’s family that, no matter how much abuse they will endure, they will also receive an equivalent amount of love and sympathy.
Lean on that, Fulton tells the family: “Long after the overwhelming media attention is gone, you will need to find your ‘new normal.’ ”
Elsewhere, she offers Brown’s family advice for surviving the “character assassination” that often strikes young black shooting victims.
“I have always said that Trayvon was not perfect,” she writes. “But no one will ever convince me that my son deserves to be stalked and murdered. No one can convince you that Michael deserved to be executed.”
Fulton finishes her letter on a note of hard-hearted optimism, telling Brown’s family that “neither of their lives shall be in vain.”
“The galvanizations of our communities must be continued beyond the tragedies,” she writes. “If they refuse to hear us, we will make them feel us.”