The mother of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager shot dead in 2012, has written a letter to the family of 18-year-old Michael Brown, whose shooting by a police officer has sparked days of unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.
In the letter, published in Time, Sybrina Fulton offers to “share my continuing journey as you begin yours” and expresses her “hate” for the fact that Brown’s relatives “must join this exclusive yet growing group of parents and relatives who have lost loved ones to senseless gun violence”.
Ms Fulton writes: “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.”
In her letter Ms Fulton focuses on all young victims of gun violence and emphasises the need to seek justice “regardless of race, ethnicity or gender”.
She writes: “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.
“Further complicating the pain and loss in this tragedy is the fact that the killer of your son is alive, known, and currently free. In fact, he is on paid administrative leave.”
Ms Fulton adds in her letter: “I will support you and your efforts to seek justice for your Michael and the countless other Michaels & Trayvons of our country. The 20 Sandy Hook children. Jordan Davis. Oscar Grant. Kendrick Johnson. Sean Bell. Hadya Pendleton. The Aurora shooting victims.
The list is too numerous to adequately mention them all. According to The Children’s Defense Fund, gun violence is the second leading cause of death for children ages 1-19. That is a horrible fact.”
She closes the letter with a vow to pursue change, writing: But know this: neither of their lives shall be in vain.”
“I would hate to think that our lawmakers and leaders would need to lose a child before protecting the rest of them and making the necessary changes NOW…”