When Michael Brown, 18, was shot by a police officer two weeks ago, it brought back 20 years of sharp and painful memories for Mary Caldwell.
That's how long it's been since her 18-year-old son, Tony Sullivan, was shot and killed by a Lexington police officer on Oct. 25, 1994.
"These mothers, I know what they're going through," she said. "It gets better, but it never goes away."
Brown's shooting in Ferguson, Mo., and the subsequent unrest and police response reminded many of Sullivan's death, an event that provoked serious soul-searching about race relations in Lexington.
But so little has changed between police and the black community, organizers said, that several people wanted to honor Sullivan in the recent light of Brown's death, holding a vigil Sunday afternoon at Fifth and Race Streets.
"We have a responsibility ... we have to learn to police our own community," said Damon Muhammad of the Nation of Islam, who spoke to the crowd of 75 to 100 people. "We have to show more love and unity to one another."
Sullivan was shot the night of Oct. 25 when police entered an apartment in Bluegrass Aspendale looking for Sullivan on several felony warrants. A white officer, Phil Vogel, said his gun discharged accidentally, hitting Sullivan in the head. The shooting sparked simmering anger in the black community, sending a group of angry teens into downtown Lexington.
A grand jury decided not to indict Vogel in the shooting.
Groups such as Partners for Youth were created in the aftermath to help teenagers, and Lexington got its first black police chief, Anthany Beatty, in 2001.
But whatever progress was made seems meaningless sometimes in a community that feels largely left behind and ignored in Lexington, said Sullivan's sister, Tanya Sullivan. Brown's death just brings it all to the forefront.
The black community is still "harassed all the time around here," she said.
Sullivan said she was pulled over on Thanksgiving Day a few years ago and police pulled guns on her with her children in the car because her truck resembled one for which they were searching.
"That's stereotyping," she said.
Brothers Corey and Brannon Dunn of the group Community Organizers of Lexington urged the crowd to register to vote and to remember their rights, such as protection from unlawful searches.
The event ended with a prayer circle for Brown and Tony Sullivan.
"You can't forget too much," said Tanya Sullivan. "These things are still happening."