The pain of losing a son to gun violence is one Sybrina Fulton knows all to well.
Like slain teenager Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin's death spurred outrage and protests. Brown's family has also enlisted the help of Martin's family lawyer, attorney Benjamin Crump. And although her battle for justice fell short (Martin's killer George Zimmerman was found "not guilty"), Fulton continues to fight the battle against senseless gun violence through the Trayvon Martin Foundation. In an open letter to Brown's family for TIME.com, Fulton shares her support and some words of wisdom.
"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," she writes. "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."
Click here to read Fulton's entire letter.