“Mothers of the Movement” Feature at Democratic Convention

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July 26, 2016; Philadelphia Tribune

This election season has coincided with a moment when an ever-larger portion of the country has finally realized how bound up the safety of first responders and communities in general are with the safety of young black men and begun to address systemic racism more honestly. Mass incarceration, fair policing, and marginalization have come up repeatedly at the Democratic National Convention, but possibly the most dramatic moment to date was when seven black women took the stage last night and stood in a semicircle.

Each had lost a child to gun violence. They included Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland; Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin; Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis; Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontré Hamilton; Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; and Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown. The “Mothers of the Movement” assembled as the crowd chanted, “Black lives matter.”

The full video can be seen below, and it deserves to be watched in its entirety.

Three of the women spoke, declaring that their jobs as mothers extended beyond the graves of their children to ensure other young black people were better protected. They asked for help in making a different future.

Fulton ended the testimony with her declaration:

I am an unwilling participant in this movement. I would not have signed up for this. None of us would have. But I am here today for my son, Trayvon Martin, who is in heaven. And also for his brother, Jahvaris Fulton, who is still here on earth. I did not want this spotlight but I will do everything I can to focus some of that light on a path out of this darkness.

In her endorsement of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president, Fulton said Clinton “has the courage to lead the fight for common sense gun legislation. And she has a plan to repair the divide that so often exists between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”—Ruth McCambridge