“I want to thank you for standing with us and supporting us, and we’d like to leave with you what God has given us: strength, love and peace,” Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, said in a moment of profound emotion Tuesday night, during the second session of the DNC.
“This isn’t about being politically correct. This is about saving our children,” Fulton said earlier, making it clear that asking for justice and saving lives is not asking people to be “politically correct”.
Fulton was speaking as a member of Mothers of the Movement, a group of women who lost their children due to gun violence or police brutality. They banded together at Hillary Clinton’s suggestion, in order to protect black Americans and reform our criminal justice system.
“You don’t stop being a mom when your child dies,” the mother of Jordan Davis said. Lucy McBath continued, “I lived in fear 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 his life.”
“I am still Jordan Davis’s mother. His life ended the day he was shot and killed for playing loud music. But my job as his mother didn’t.”
Saying that Hillary Clinton invited the mothers to become a part of the solution, McBath said, “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. Because the majority of police officers are good people doing a good job.”
Hear that? There was no demonizing of police.
Geneva Reed-Veal, Sandra Bland’s mother, said, “I’m here with Hillary Clinton because she is a leader and a mother who will say our children’s names. Hillary knows that when a young black life is cut short, it’s not just a personal loss. It is a national loss. It is a loss that diminishes all of us.”
Reed-Veal could have wallowed in bitterness but instead said it was a blessing to be there, “What a blessing to be here tonight, 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, to cast our votes for a president who will help lead us down the path toward restoration and change.”
This kind of high-minded spiritual leadership is sorely lacking on the Republican side, which is focused on demonizing Black Lives Matter instead of listening.
This tone of peace and unity was a major difference between this and RNC last week.
The mothers of Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Jordan Davis, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, Dontre Hamilton, Blair Holt, Trayvon Martin and Hadiya Pendleton weren’t trying to lay false blame to demonize, but rather lift up a cause, in a peaceful manner, even in their horrible grief.
The DNC released this video Tuesday night, based on Hillary Clinton’s suggestion to the moms to be a “Constant Drumbeat”:
Asked how they could make their voices heard and be most effective, Clinton told the moms, “I think you can continue to speak out, but you will be more effective if you do somehow band together, so that it’s a constant drumbeat.”
“As to say, look we are citizens, we are mothers, we lost children,” Clinton told them during a meeting that was supposed to be 30 minutes long but turned into a 2-hour meeting. “This is not only wrong, it is unacceptable, and here are the things that need to happen, to try to prevent this from ever happening again.”
Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin said of this meeting with Hillary Clinton, “A 30-minute meeting turned into two hours because she listened to us. Nobody else listened to us.”
And now these mothers, Sybrina Fulton, Geneva Reed-Veal, Lucy McBath, Gwen Carr, Cleopatra Pendelton, Maria Hamilton, Lezley McSpadden, and Wanda Johnson and more are speaking up with great strength, yet somehow grounded in love and peace. This is the kind of rhetoric our nation needs. Words focused on solutions and ending hate.
I wonder if Republicans who demonize these women and the Black Lives Matter movement have ever listened to the actual words they speak, because they did not urge hate or violence. Quite the opposite.
Apparently they aren’t shown these women on purpose. Brian Lowry tweeted Tuesday night, “Fox News only cable network not covering Black Lives Matter presentation live. O’Reilly interviewing Karl Rove, goes to commercial.”
It makes a person wonder if women in this much grief can be grounded in ending hate, why can’t Donald Trump.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.