Posted: 12/12/2014 9:35 pm EST Updated: 1 hour ago
The mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice appeared together for the first time on CNN.
In an interview with Anderson Cooper on Friday, the mothers of the four deceased, unarmed African American males explained that if their sons were white, they would still be alive.
"I think absolutely my son's race and the color of his skin had a lot to do with why he was shot and killed," said Sybrina Fulton, Martin's mother.
Eric Garner's mother, Gwen Carr said:
"If Eric Garner was a white man in Suffolk County doing the same thing that he was doing -- even if he would have been caught selling cigarettes that day -- they would have given him a summons and he wouldn't have lost his life that day... I believe that 100 percent."
The mothers also told Cooper that white people don't quite understand what communities of color are going through, partly because they don't have to.
"It's not happening to them, so they don't quite get it... They don't quite understand. They think that it's a small group of African-Americans that's complaining... The people say that all the time: 'What are they complaining about now? What are they protesting about now?
Until it happens to them and in their family then they'll understand the walk. They don't understand what we're going through. They don't understand the life and they don't understand what we're fighting against. I don't even think the government quite gets it."
Martin died in 2012 in Florida when neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman shot him. Martin was seventeen years old. Zimmerman was acquitted of second degree murder and manslaughter.
Brown died in Ferguson, Mo. in an altercation with police officer Darren Wilson in August. A grand jury voted not to indict Wilson in November.
In July, Garner died after NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo placed him in a chokehold, a death the medical examiner concluded was a homicide. The incident was recorded on video. A grand jury decided not to indict Pantaleo, which sparked a new wave of protests inspired by Garner's last words, "I can't breathe."
12-year-old Tamir Rice was at a Cleveland park when a police car pulled up and shot him last month. His death was ruled a homicide according to a Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's autopsy report.
Mothers Of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice Speak Together For The First Time