The mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Oscar Grant, Hadiya Pendelton, Jordan Davis and Dontre Hamilton took to the stage in an emotional appearance at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night. Called the "Mothers of the Movement" speaking out unified against state sanction violence, gun violence, and the devaluation of Black lives.
These mothers –whose unarmed sons and daughters died through police encounters, or through gun violence each wore red roses and sent a powerful message about their struggle, pain and their fight forward for justice, equality and a more leveled playing field for young African Americans.
Speaking in ministerial style, while holding back tears, Geneva Reed-Veal, Bland's mother, explained why this group supports Hillary Clinton's campaign.
"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 is a loss that diminishes all of us," she said.
The deaths of their children have become a major social and political issue, pushing violence in Black communities — and against unarmed youth — to the forefront. Movements like Black Lives Matter and Dream Defenders were born out of demonstrations addressing the killings.
“You don’t stop being a mom when your child dies,” said Lucia McBath to the pack Wells Fargo Arena. “I lived in fear that my son would die like this.” Her strong word painted a vivid picture to convention delegates and the millions watching worldwide that after years of struggle the worth of a black life remain in question.
Before the mothers appeared on stage, the DNC played a short, but powerful, video about their activism and private meeting they had with Clinton, spurring the convention floor to chant “Black Lives Matter!” for several minutes.
As the presentation ended Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, emotionally told the audience, “I would not have signed up for this but I am here for my son.”