As protests continue to illuminate patterns of racial profiling and police misconduct against African Americans across the nation, several women who share a unique experience are now telling their collective stories about what it is like to outlive your child whose life was extinguished by the hands of those paid to protect it.
The mothers of seven victims: Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Botham Jean, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Antwon Rose and Trayvon Martin spoke to ABC’s “Good Morning America” to tell their stories.
The narratives vary, but they all have a similar, grievous tone.
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“We are never ever going to recover from this. We live it every day. We carry the pain every single day," said Sybrina Fulton, whose 17-year-old son Trayvon Martin was shot to death in 2012, when he got into a scuffle with George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. “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.”
More recently making the headlines, and being first of the high-profile deaths in 2020, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, says her healing process has been slow over the months after losing her son when two men fatally shot him in a confrontation, believing he was a burglar.
“I didn't watch the video. My siblings have, and they described it. He fought these guys and then after he was defeated, when he fell to the ground in his last seconds of his life, he was called the n-word.
“Ahmaud didn't deserve that. No human being deserves that,” she continued. “When there's a new victim of police brutality or hate crime, it makes me angry – angry that another family has to go through what I've gone through.”
The mother of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old EMT who was killed in her apartment in March when Louisville police executed an erroneous search warrant, said she was crushed because not only did she lose her daughter, but Taylor was about to celebrate her birthday as well before she was killed in her own home.
“I couldn’t focus on anything. People were talking and I couldn’t hear them. I was angry and all I could see was red. [And then] for her birthday to come up so quickly after this incident was heartbreaking. I didn't want to be up out of bed,” said Tamika Palmer. “I didn't want to deal with people. But all these people who I don't even know came from everywhere to celebrate her life.
“So I had to get up and I had to talk and I had to be around these people. I’m grateful, I really am, but just that day, in that moment,” Palmer remembered. “I didn't want to be that person [because] she's not here.”
Read each of the essays written by the mothers themselves about their individual harrowing stories of how they manage their grief, pain, and loss at GoodMorningAmerica.com.
Photo Credits: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images; Brett Carlsen/Getty Images; Drew Angerer/Getty Images