Trayvon Martin's father, Tracy Martin, knows a bit about what Michael Brown's family is feeling. Brown was unarmed on Aug. 9 when he was fatally shot by a police officer in his hometown of Ferguson, Mo.
During an appearance Sunday on MSNBC's Weekends With Alex Witt, Tracy Martin pointed out the similarities between the character assassination of his son, who was also unarmed when he was shot and killed by then-neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in 2012, and that of Michael Brown.
Martin noted that when he heard about the events after his son's death, he was left to wonder who, in fact, was being prosecuted. "At the end of the day, you ask yourself as a parent, in my case, in our case, I sat back and said, 'Is my son on trial or is his killer on trial?' " Martin told Witt.
"Don't let anyone assassinate your son's character," Martin offered to the parents of Brown. "They have to stand up for their son … we're with them 110 percent. Protests are going, protests are needed, but peaceful protests."
Martin also noted that the opportunity in this tragedy is a chance to have an open and honest discussion about race and the value of black lives. "First, you have to understand that we as an African-American community—we have to break the stigma," Martin told Witt. "We have to come together as human beings and say that African-American lives matter just as much as any other ethnicity [group's] life matters.
"In America we have a real issue with discussing race," Martin continued. "No one wants to discuss those issues. We understand that racism is alive and well, and we just have to be able to sit down at the dinner table at the end of the day and discuss these issues."
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