Four mothers grieve the very public loss of their sons
Four mothers, all mourning the loss of their sons, sat down for an exclusive interview to not only remember their children, but also raise awareness.
The mothers of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Oscar Grant gathered at the Christian Love Baptist Church.
The occasion at the church was the one year anniversary of Eric Garner's death, which occurred on July 17, 2014. His mother, Gwen Carr, remembers getting the news like it was yesterday.
"That day is indescribable. I can't even describe how I felt. My heart was ripped out. It's like a nightmare, a reoccurring nightmare. But it's worse than a nightmare because I never wake up," Carr said.
Each of their son’s cases is similar in the fact that each of them came across controversial police encounters.
In California, Oscar Grant was an unarmed 22-year-old who was fatally shot in the back, while face-down, by BART Police officer Johannes Mehserle.
Trayvon Martin, 17, was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, in Florida.
Eric Garner, 43, died after Officer Daniel Pantaleo tackled him to the ground in a department-banned chokehold during an arrest for allegedly selling cigarettes illegally.
After robbing a nearby convenience store, unarmed Michael Brown, 18, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, 28, a white Ferguson police officer.
In the case of Grant, there was a guilty verdict.
However, Martin's shooter was charged & acquitted, and in the cases of Brown & Garner, there were no indictments.
Even though each mother's story and experience is different, they all feel a connection and solidarity with one another.
"What we have in common is that we've all lost our children senselessly," says Oscar Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson.
Sybrina Fulton, Martin's mother, feels that same connection, "We just have a special connection and I just truly believe that even the death of my son won't separate me from the love of my son."
While they all grieve, they also motivate each other, "I feel inspired when I'm around them because they've been through what I'm going through," says Brown's mother, Lesley Mcspadden.
In the service Sunday, Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver spoke words of encouragement to these mothers, "Let us not let these young men's lives be lost in vain."