Sybrina Fulton, the mother of 17-year-old shooting victim Trayvon Martin, penned an impassioned letter to a family who is going through a similar tragedy. In a heartfelt essay written exclusively for Time on Monday, she reaches out to the loved ones of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, MO, on Aug. 9. In the piece, Sybrina reflects on the experience that the families unfortunately now share, saying, "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."
To the Brown Family,
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.
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. 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.
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. Your own feelings will bounce between sorrow and anger. Even when you don't want to think about it because it is so much to bear, you will be forced to by merely turning on your television or answering your cell phone. You may find yourselves pulled in many different directions by strangers who may be well-wishers or detractors. Your circle will necessarily close tighter because the trust you once, if ever, you had in "the system" and their agents are forever changed. Your lives are forever changed.