Mothers of the Movement urge blacks to vote

Mothers of the Movement urge blacks to vote
September 22
07:00 2016



They are members of a dreaded club they say no one wants to join. Their black children were all killed, either by a law enforcement officer, or someone with a gun. In each case, their child was an innocent victim, not only of the deed, but of the lack of justice that followed.

They are known as “The Mothers of the Movement,” and they captivated the nation last July when they walked out on stage during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Three of them – Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton;  and Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland – spent Monday and Tuesday of this week speaking at events in the African-American communities of Greensboro at N.C. A & T University, Durham, Charlotte and Fayetteville, sharing their pain, and urging their audiences to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November presidential election.

The Clinton campaign sponsored the mothers’ tour.

During their hour-long session at North Carolina Central University’s School of Law Monday in Durham, the mothers talked to students there about how their children were killed, how the black community must mobilize to stem the escalating tide of police killings and why they individually believed Hillary Clinton when she met with them, and promised, if elected president, that she would work to reform the criminal justice system so that police officers are held to greater accountability in incidents involving the killing of innocent citizens.

“Well of course if our children were not dead, we wouldn’t be [on tour] speaking,” said Reed-Veal, whose daughter, Sandra Bland, 28, died in a Texas jail cell after she was arrested after a minor traffic stop last year. “But we’re grateful to be able to go around and make young people understand, ‘Your voice matters too. This is serious business. We care enough about you to get out here and speak to all of you across the country.’

“So it’s a big deal, “Reed-Veal said, “A big deal.”

The cries of Gwen Carr’s son Eric Garner of “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe” on the smartphone video taken while five New York City police officers strangled him to death on a Staten Island street two years ago still haunts any-one who saw it.

Like Reed-Veal and Maria Hamilton, Carr assures that her child was a good son who did nothing to deserve to die. A Staten Island grand jury refused to indict the officers involved, even though there was evidence they were using an outlawed chokehold.

“I [posthumously] made a promise to my son that I would speak out, and be the voice of the voiceless, and the nameless, because some people don’t have a voice,” Carr said, adding that the mission of the mothers is to bring about awareness in hopes that many, especially young people, are listening.

“We’ve got to try to touch the consciousness of America,” Carr added.

Maria Hamilton says police officers aren’t doing their jobs when they hurt or kill innocent citizens. Her youngest son, Dontre, was shot 14 times after he was confronted sleeping on a park bench in Milwaukee, just because a beat officer mistakenly thought he was a black homeless person scaring away customers at local businesses.

Hamilton says she was brought up in a family of police officers who didn’t have to resort to lethal force to do their jobs. She added that in many other countries, the police are trained to deescalate incidents, and don’t even carry weapons.

“You don’t know nothing about me, and you take my life? That is not your job,” Hamilton said.

Critics of the Mothers of the Movement accuse them of being used by the Clinton campaign, but they insist that they’re not, and the fact that Hillary Clinton has taken time to listen to their pain, and promise to do something about police brutality, among other issues, has convinced them that she is worth endorsing, and campaigning.

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Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

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