Trayvon Martin’s mom: ‘We are never going to recover from this’
On Feb. 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin, 17, went to a convenience store near the home of his father’s fiancée in Sanford, Florida, wearing a hoodie. While walking back to the house, Martin was followed by neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, who called police from his truck and who was told by them not to follow the teenager. Soon after, a physical altercation between the two ensued, and Martin was shot and killed. Zimmerman claimed the shooting took place in self-defense under Florida’s “Stand Your Grand” statute, but he was eventually arrested and charged with second-degree murder. He was found not guilty by a jury in July 2013.
Our Recommended Books
Being a Black mother in America feels disappointing. At times it can feel hopeless. You feel helpless because you never know when you’re going to be watching a news story in the safety of your home and the next day, you become the story.
Our Recommended Books
Not one single day goes by that I don’t think about Trayvon. I have another son, Jahvaris Fulton, and I have to keep moving because I have to fight for him. I can’t do anything about Trayvon. The situation happened, the tragedy already occurred and I can’t save him. But I can certainly work toward saving my older son.
I don’t want any mother to listen to what people have to say about the way you should heal and the amount of time it should take for you to heal. Don’t feel any pressure from anybody that you should forget, that you should heal, that you should be happy.
I want to encourage people to take a look at these tragedies. Think to yourself, ‘What if that was my son?’
I felt like I was never going to be happy again. I went from being happy 95% of the time to being sad 95% of the time. For me, the thought of not having his pictures up and then all of a sudden having someone put them my face was triggering and I knew that was going to make me sad. So I leave pictures of Trayvon around my house. When I first started out, the hoodie would make me sad. Now, when I see a hoodie, like the one Trayvon was wearing when he died, I smile about it because I’ve trained and re-programmed myself to say, “That’s in memory of my son.” You just have to do things in memory of your son or your daughter, and you just have to think about the good times.
I still cry eight years later and I don’t apologize for crying. Those are my tears. That was my son. You have to know that you have to allow yourself to be sad on that day. And then you have to allow yourself to know that a brighter day is coming.
Antwon Rose’s mother: My son had to be killed by police in order for him to change the world.
Antwon Rose II, a 17-year-old, was killed June 19, 2018, in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Officer Michael Rosfeld shot Rose after pulling over the unlicensed taxicab he was riding in, which was suspected to have been used in a drive-by shooting minutes earlier. Rose was a front-seat passenger in the cab and was shot as he fled. Video of the shooting was shared online, triggering protests in Pittsburgh. Rosfeld was arrested and charged with criminal homicide, but was found not guilty on March 22, 2019.
In her own words, Michelle Kenney reflects on the life and legacy of her only son and shares her opinions on his tragic death and heart-breaking loss.
I always wonder if Antwon is proud of me. I struggle with that every day. I’m doing my best to make him proud because I wasn’t there to protect him that day from this man who murdered him.
Today, he would’ve been in college. I would probably be calling them on the phone every day making sure he went to class. I just miss having my kid in the house.
I pray it changes so nobody else has to go through this.
I’ve talked to
Tamir Rice’s mom. She gives me the best advice, even when I don’t want to hear it. I’ve spoken to
Botham Jean’s mom. I check on her, she checks on me.
DJ Henry‘s mom is unbelievably amazing. That’s just a beautiful soul. And my closest relationships are here with the mothers in Pittsburgh. We’ve had four police shootings since Antwon’s murder and none of them have received the attention that Antwon did. Those are the moms I check on because they’re right here in my city.
If I could speak to Antwon I’d tell him that I love him and that I’m sorry–so sorry. Like I said, I always knew he was going to do something big. I thought he would discover a medicine or something like that.
I never thought he would have to be murdered to make a difference.
I’m doing my best to make him proud because I wasn’t there to protect him that day from this man who murdered him.
Botham Jean’s mother: Every time a Black person is killed by police, I relive my son’s death
On Sept. 6, 2018, Botham Jean, an accountant, was in his apartment eating ice cream when a white Dallas police officer, Amber Guyger, entered through his unlocked door and fatally shot him, claiming she thought he was a burglar in her apartment. In October 2019, Guyger was found guilty of murder by a Texas jury and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
In her own words, Allison Jean reflects on the life and legacy of her middle child, and shares her opinions on his tragic death and heartbreaking loss.
You may not understand the pain that a mother endures when she loses a child, particularly a child who was unarmed and innocent yet was murdered by police. For me, it felt like I went into labor all over again. There is an emptiness in your stomach where you secured that child for nine months. I don’t know whether that void will ever be replaced and if that pain will ever go away.
After 21 months, the pain is worse than before.