Nearly three years after Michael Brown was fatally shot by police in Ferguson, his mother and little sister graduated from high school on the same day.
Lezley McSpadden —the mother of unarmed teenager gunned down by police in 2014 — graduated from Jennings Senior High School on Friday at Chaifetz Arena. Deja Brown, Michael’s little sister, graduated alongside McSpadden.
While the two attended the same school, Deja told St. Louis American that her mom “would just go to afternoon class, so we never really interacted at school or in class or anything.”
“But I did help her on homework. Like, math, she was like, ‘I’m stuck! I don’t understand this!’ so I would try to help her the best I could, because it was Geometry, which I took already,” she continued.
Deja, who is expected to attend Tennessee State University this fall, plans to become a neonatal nurse. As St. Louis American reports, Brown is currently working in healthcare and plans to become a certified pharmacy technician this summer.
Her mother, who became the first graduate from the school’s adult education program, said that she “has a purpose now to try to uphold the legacy of her son.”
According to St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the family’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump, said the occasion was meaningful, “especially with all they’ve been through.”
While graduation was an joyful yet tearful one, Deja told reporters that this is an especially sentimental moment for her mother, who dropped out of high school more than two decades ago.
“I know it’s something that she’s wanted to do. She’s done it and she’s worked really hard, and she’s so excited and I’m excited for her!”
Michael Brown was fatally shot in 2014 by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Despite several witnesses who stated that Brown had his hands up in an attempt to surrender, a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson.