The parents of a Georgia teenager found dead rolled up in a mat in his high school gym have written a letter to the parents of police shooting victim Mike Brown. Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson’s son, Kendrick, was found in a rolled up gym mat at Lowndes High School on January 11, 2013.
Authorities concluded that he’d accidentally fallen and become trapped while reaching for a sneaker. His parents never believed the official story and believe their 17-year-old son was murdered.
The Johnsons, who maintain a website and a vigil outside the Valdosta county courthouse to try to get the case reopened, say they wanted to extend their support to Lesley McSpadden and Mike Brown, Sr. because they support the desire for justice in the Mike Brown case as they do for their own son.
“It is with great sadness that Kenneth and I express our deepest sympathies to you and your family in the untimely passing of your son, Michael. As a mother who has recently lost a child under suspicious circumstances, I can only imagine the grief and pain that you are experiencing as you struggle to understand why.
Our hearts broke with you as we watched the Ferguson police release an unrelated surveillance tape of your son, in a cowardly attempt to smear his character. Deplorable is the only word I can find to describe Chief Jackson’s decision to taint the public’s opinion with the video he knew had nothing to do with his officer executing your son in broad daylight.
You have sadly joined the likes of mothers such as Sybrina Fulton, Lucia McBath and myself who must know roll up our sleeves and fight for our sons. We fight because we believe the lives of our sons matter. We fight because we know that black life matters. We fight because we believe that our sons deserved a chance at life. And now Michael is depending on you to stand up and fight!
There is not a day that goes by where I don’t think about my son, Kendrick. Some days I wish I could just hold him or hear his sweet laugh again. Losing a child is never easy but it’s harder to accept when you have to fight for the truth. You have a long road ahead, but we are mothers and we are not built to break.
We will not rest until we have justice for our children, but in the meantime, build your hope on things eternal and just hold to God’s unchanging hands. We are praying for you from Valdosta.
Jacquelyn L. Johnson