Rioters looted and burned stores, vandalized vehicles and taunted riot police who tried to block access to parts of a predominantly black suburb of St. Louis after a vigil to an unarmed man who was fatally shot by an officer turned ugly.
The death of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old unarmed teen shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, has sparked outrage across the country, much like the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin did in 2012.
Martin’s mom, Sybrina Fulton, reached out to the Brown family via a letter published by TIME, where she wishes she could say that “it will be alright,” but that all she can do is “pray” as their lives are forever changed.
“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,” Fulton wrote in the letter published Monday about her experience when her 18-year-old son was shot and killed by former neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.
Brown was shot multiple times by Wilson on Aug. 9. Police have said little about the encounter, except that it involved a scuffle in which Wilson was injured and Brown was shot. Witnesses say Brown had his hands in the air as the officer fired multiple rounds.
“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,” she continued.
Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter in 2013.
Fulton said the entire experience is further complicated because even when she doesn’t want to think about it, “you will be forced to by merely turning on your television or answering your phone.” She added that it will continue to happen long after their loved is laid to rest.
For Fulton, the loss meant devoting herself to The Trayvon Martin Foundation and providing support to families that have lost a family member to senseless gun violence. She offered her support to the Brown family in their “efforts to seek justice for your Michael and the countless other Michaels & Trayvons of our country.”
“Surround yourselves with proven and trusted support,” Fulton wrote. “Honor your son and his life, not the circumstances of his alleged transgressions… But know this: neither of their lives shall be in vain. The galvanization of our communities must be continued beyond the tragedies.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report