“Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter!”
That’s the chant that met the Mothers of the Movement when they took the stage at the Democratic National Convention yesterday (July 26).
Maria Hamilton (mother of Dontre Hamilton), Annette Nance-Holt (mother of Blair Holt), Gwen Carr (mother of Eric Garner), Geneva Reed-Veal (mother of Sandra Bland), Lucia McBath (mother of Jordan Davis), Sybrina Fulton (mother of Trayvon Martin), Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley (Hadiya Pendleton), Wanda Johnson (mother of Oscar Grant) and Lezley McSpadden, (mother of Michael Brown) joined together to talk about their children—who all died, some via gun violence, others at the hands of police officers—and why they support Hillary Clinton.
“I am here with Hillary Clinton tonight because she is a leader and a mother who will say our children’s names,” Reed-Veal said, through tears. “She knows that when a young Black life is cut short, it’s not just a loss. It’s a personal loss. It’s a national loss. It’s a loss that diminishes all of us. What a blessing tonight to be standing here so that Sandy can still speak through her mama. And what a blessing it is for all of us that we have the opportunity—if we seize it, we gotta seize it—to cast our votes for a president who will help lead us down the path toward restoration and change.”
The crowd jumped to its feet.
McBath spoke next, expanding on why she supports Clinton:
I lived in fear that my son would die like this. I even warned him that because he was a young Black man, he would meet people who didn’t value him or his life. That is a conversation that no parent should ever have with their child. Hillary Clinton isn’t afraid to say that “Black lives matter.” She isn’t afraid to sit at a table with grieving mothers and bear the full force of our anguish. He doesn’t build walls around her heart. Not only did she listen to our problems, but she invited us to become a part of the solution, and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to keep telling our children’s stories, and we’re urging you to say their names. We’re going to keep building a future where police officers and communities of color work together in mutual respect to keep children like Jordan safe. The majority of police officers are good people, doing a good job. And we’re also going to keep using our voices and our votes to support leaders like Hillary Clinton who will help us protect one another, so that this club of heartbroken mothers stops growing.
Fulton then took the mic to explain why it was important for them to be there: “This isn’t about being politically correct. This is about saving our children.”
Watch the full, moving presentation above.