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10 years after Trayvon Martin’s death, mothers share lessons on perseverance

The Trayvon Martin mural in New York City. (Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Paramount Network )
The Trayvon Martin mural in New York City. (Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Paramount Network )

Ten years ago this week, Sybrina Fulton’s 17-year-old son Trayvon Martin, was shot and killed on the way home from the store after buying a bag of Skittles.

His death ignited the Black Lives Matter movement, and in the years since, Fulton has also become a prominent activist. She leads the group “Mothers of the Movement,” which is made up of Black women who have lost their children to police and gun violence.

Fulton has also become somewhat of an icon to other Black mothers. In the years since her son’s death, Fulton has traveled all over the world and spoken to other parents who have lost their children.

In 2015, she held an event at Seattle University. That’s how she met mothers Ayanna Brown and Shalisa Hayes.

Hayes’ 17-year-old son, Billy Ray, was shot and killed in 2011 at a party in Tacoma, Washington.

In 2010, Brown’s 12-year-old son, Alajawan, was stepping off of a city bus in Skyway, Washington when he was shot and killed. He was coming home from Walmart after buying a pair of football cleats.

Both women felt a yearning to talk to another Black mother who knows exactly what they’re going through. They’ve also been inspired by Fulton to turn their pain into purpose. Brown works full-time running her son’s foundation, and Hayes recently opened a community center in her son’s memory.

Here & Now’s Tonya Mosley gathered the three mothers together again to talk about grief and perseverance in the face of such loss. Click the audio link above for the full story.

Watch on YouTube.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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