Trayvon Martin’s Mom Writes Devastating Letter to Michael Brown’s Family

lesley mcspaddenIn the wake of Michael Brown's murder, there is been a tremendous amount of pain and fury among residents of his tiny Missouri town. Though, that is surely nothing compared to the agony his mother Lesley McSpadden has endured since the unarmed teen was gunned down in the street by a cop. She is now apart of a club that is tragically growing in number every month. Also a member? Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin. She too lost a teenage son due to senseless gun violence and she reached out to Brown's family in a heartbreaking letter.

Though her 17-year-old, unarmed child was mercilessly gunned down by George Zimmeran two years ago, that searing pain is as acute as if it were yesterday.

I wish I had a word of automatic comfort but I don’t. I wish I could say that it will be alright on a certain or specific day but I can’t. I wish that all of the pain that I have endured could possibly ease some of yours but it won’t. What I can do for you is what has been done for me: pray for you then share my continuing journey as you begin yours.

Fulton also touches on the most chilling lesson in all of this: these incidences are anything but rare. There is an increasing number of young, black, unarmed men that have been gunned down at the hands of so-called vigilantes like Zimmerman and police officers. For us mothers of black boys, it's a frightening reality. We are raising them in a world where the their lives are not valued as much as others. Just by virtue of being black, they are in danger whether they have committed crimes or not.

Of particular concern is that so many of these gun violence cases involve children far too young. But Michael is much more than a police/gun violence case; Michael is your son. A son that barely had a chance to live. Our children are our future so whenever any of our children – black, white, brown, yellow, or red – are taken from us unnecessarily, it causes a never-ending pain that is unlike anything I could have imagined experiencing.

But the killings are often accompanied by character assassinations too. The police were quick to point out that Brown may be a suspect in a robbery -- nevermind the cop who shot him did not know that.

All of this pain is compounded, of course, when the killer goes free. In the case of Trayvon, Zimmerman walked because of the Stand Your Ground law. For Brown's shooter, the judgment remains to be seen. But in many of these cases, police officers go free. I can't help but think of the 1999 death of Amadou Diallo. In New York City, where I am raising my child, he was shot 41 times outside his home by four cops who said they thought he was reaching for a gun. In reality, he was reaching for his wallet to show them his ID. Despite what can only be called as a disgusting, deadly, overreaction, they were all acquitted. There are many, many more cases just like this.

So how does a mother move on from this? For Fulton, she has devoted her life to the Trayvon Martin Foundation, which helps families who have lost children because of gun violence. She had these profound words of advice for the devastated McSpadden:

Honor your son and his life, not the circumstances of his alleged transgressions. 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. But know this: neither of their lives shall be in vain ... While we fight injustice, we will also hold ourselves to an appropriate level of intelligent advocacy. If they refuse to hear us, we will make them feel us.

What a gut-wrenching bond this two women now share.

What do you think of Fulton's letter to Michael Brown's mother?


Image via © Jeff Roberson/AP/Corbis

crime, death, racism


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nonmember avatar h. Colon

This article is a joke and you should be ashamed of yourself. Killer cops? Really? Maybe the fault lies with parents who teach their children not to respect any one, including law enforcement? Maybe if they taught their children to have respect and morals, they wouldn't be dead. Society does not owe them anything and slavery was over a century and a half ago. get over it and empower yourselves.

nonmember avatar JamesSTL

I honestly believe that it will be determined that Michael Brown was a victim of his own bad judgment. He committed a strong arm robbery, he failed to adhere to the instructions of a police officer, and he resisted arrest/assaulted a police officer. Numerous credible witnesses have given testimony that Brown was charging at the officer when he was fatally shot. The officer had every right defend himself.

Autum... Autumnleaves87

I'm boiling reading this article.

As a mother to young black men, you should teach them to NOT ROB STORES!!!! You should teach them to not bum rush police officers!! You should teach them to treat every person they meet with RESPECT.

Micheal Brown was robbing a store and acting like PUNK and got shot for it. My son was home having pizza and swimming in the pool with his friends that day. He's alive and happy as can be.

This artcle is just ridiculous. I know this is tragic all the way around but don't start with this "innocent kid gunned down" bs. Not true.

Dawn Paradis-Thomas

This statement bothers me: "But the killings are often accompanied by character assassinations too. The police were quick to point out that Brown may be a suspect in a robbery -- nevermind the cop who shot him did not know that." Michael Brown didn't know that the policeman didn't know he just robbed a store, so why would be unfathomable for him to have acted defensively himself? This isn't some innocent kid walking down the street.  MIchael Brown has a file for several offenses.  This is ridiculous and the kind of journalism that continually fuels racial tension.

MamaY... MamaYankee

I honestly don't believe these two cases are comparable. Trayon didn't break the law nor ignore defy an authority figure. I would've have reacted the same way to Zimmerman had he been following me home. Mike brow, however, confirmed the stereotype and black=thug image when he not only stole from a store but then aggressively handled the clerk who has every right to protect his merchandise. He also blatantly stayed in the middle of the street after directed by the cop to move to the sidewalk. He showed that he had no respect for authority and that doesn't mean he deserved death but I cannot compare trayvon, who was profiled and reacting to zimmermans action to a kid who intentionally defied the laws. Sorry, just my opinion

Autum... Autumnleaves87

And seriously. If you TEACH your young black children that "their lives are not valued as much as others. Just by virtue of being black, they are in danger whether they have committed crimes or not", you are NOT helping them!!! You should be raising up your children above that, and teaching them to be positive members of society. Respect goes a long way in that.

The author of this article is not helping in any way.

Denise Yates

Teach your kids not to be criminals.

Gamer... Gamer_mom1

I don't know who is wrong or right

All I know is you will never see the right wing back up a black guy who is killed by a cop

And so much evidence coming out about right wing lies to defame him and people still don't get it

Gamer... Gamer_mom1

And there are videos of the guy trying to pay for the cigars and leaving some behind that he couldn't afford

We don't know what the actual argument was about nor is it relevant. The right just wants to paint the stereotype of a young black thug to appeal to racists

Gamer... Gamer_mom1

There's always some racist white asshole who brings up slavery. Yes everyone knows it's over. No one but racist asshole white people without a clue think it's about "gettin back at whitey"

You're so fucking out of touch and unable to relate

Just like those damn misogynists treat women and religious zealots treat nonchristians. The privileged majority always trivializes and fails to relate to the oppressed

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