Michael Brown Sr. and Michael Brown Jr. (305825)
Michael Brown Sr. and Michael Brown Jr. Credit: The Michael Brown Foundation

Moving pain to purpose. That’s why three Black fathers have continued to talk about the pain of losing their sons to injustice. In the aftermath, they turned their pain into passion and purpose. They have also promised to continue fighting for change for future generations.

Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown Jr., and Daunte Wright were three young Black men whose deaths shook Black America and re-ignited the focus on racial injustice in America.

The day before Father’s Day, national radio and TV host Steve Harvey moderated a virtual discussion entitled, “A Father’s Justice: Moving Pain to Purpose.” According to organizers, approximately 37,000 people participated in the virtual event.

“I’m still grieving,” said Aubrey Wright, the father of Daunte Wright, who was shot and killed on April 11 by police officer Kimberly Potter during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minn. Potter, a White woman, has been charged with manslaughter. Potter’s case is still pending.

“The devastation in our community is overwhelming,” said Tracy Martin, the father of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch person in Sanford, Fla. on Feb. 26, 2012. Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder and other related charges.

“I had to tell the story,” Martin said.

“You can mourn forever,” said Michael Brown Sr., the father of 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr., who was shot and killed on August 9, 2014, by Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson. A grand jury decided not to indict Wilson, who is White.

Through it all, Brown Sr. said he has leaned on his family to get through the past seven years.

“We’re hurt too,” said Brown Sr., who noted that he’s been holding in stress, which has taken a toll on his health. “I’m on high blood pressure medicine, anxiety, my body is different [now].”

Harvey spoke passionately about helping Brown take control of his health, noting that every man has the power to make changes to improve their health without relying on medication for the rest of their lives.

Harvey also offered a continued commitment to offer actions that will support Black fathers seeking justice.

He wants that change because he believes police officers are seemingly held to different standards than the general public when it comes to murder.

“If any one of us takes a life, we know we are going to prison,” Harvey said.

Harvey said he’s tired, but he’s not giving up the fight. Then he announced that The Steve & Marjorie Harvey Foundation made $10,000 donations to The Trayvon Martin Foundation and The Michael Brown Foundation.

“The coping is in action,” said Harvey. “This is a constant fight in the United States of America.”

Brown said it is still important to speak out, even though he never received justice for his son’s untimely killing.

“It had to be all about the community,” Brown said. “I do a father’s retreat for the fathers every June, so we can bond and have these conversations with someone who gets what you’re going through.”