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Death of a Child: “It’s definitely one of those fraternities you wouldn’t want to be a part of…”

“It’s definitely one of those fraternities you wouldn’t want to be a part of…”

-Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin’s father


Ben Crump, the attorney for Trayvon Martin’s family, and I are the only two people who have seen both Ron Davis and Tracy Martin meet in person for the first time at Trayvon Martin’s Remembrance AND see Lucia McBath and Sybrina Fulton meet in person for the first time at the Black Male Re-Invented Conference. To say these moments were powerful- is not doing them justice. To say those hugs were moving- is not giving them enough credit. In fact, there are few words which can describe seeing such uniting of tragedy and perseverance, up close, from the outside. And seeing 4 people, who share such unspeakable tragedy as the unnecessary and criminal loss of a child is… indescribable.

It is both an incredible responsibility and a soul-awakening inspiration to represent Jordan Davis’ family. I compare it to being a conductor in a symphony. We are up there advocating, story telling and making sure Jordan’s life and death orchestrates such a song that one person changes and then another. Grief management, political advisor, social media director, media consultant, copyright lawyer, civil rights attorney and, most importantly- friend -are all duties in a day’s work. But it is merely the edge of the tip of the iceberg compared to what these families are going through.

If I have a bad day, I think of Ron Davis. If I see somebody like Piers Morgan act like he’s on our side but book a racist for ratings, I think of Lucia McBath. If someone tries to tell me my mission is impossible, I think of Sybrina Fulton. And if I get tired and want to go back to much less emotionally exhausting fights, I think of Tracy Martin. They cannot stop. And if I need another ounce of encouragement to push harder than I ever have before, I think of Jordan and Trayvon. And Paul Sampleton. And Kalil McCoy. And all of the lost children.

And I think maybe we can stop just one name from being added to that list. Maybe we can stop just one parent from joining that fraternity. Maybe.

But we won’t stop one if we don’t try.

Ben Crump and I have infant children. And I know we hold them a little tighter and want them to be the first generation that finally “gets it”- the ones that will work together for the greater good. Have we opened Pandora’s Box so wide that even Lady Liberty has a gun? I hope not. Are the best days of this country in the rear-view mirror? I think that destiny is our control.

But we need your help. It may seem insignificant, but every tweet matters. Every follower and comment is meaningful. Every word, every prayer, every letter, every hug… matters. I know because they give Ron and Lucy strength. And I have never met stronger people. And they give me strength. And I am sure Ben would say the same about Trayvon’s family. It’s the butterfly effect.

So, let me take a moment and THANK YOU. You mean so much to us- to the legacies of Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin and to all of the names who don’t roll off our tongues who could fill the internet with pain. Keep praying, keep loving and keep supporting these families. It matters.

John M. Phillips,
Lawyer for the family of Jordan Davis