When I went to protest in the streets of Houston, I did not know what to expect. I got to the park late and had to drive to find the march that was weaving through the neighborhoods and heading towards the highway. The police were attempting to contain and manipulate the movements of the peaceful protest in order to keep us from shutting down the highway. We reached two pivotal points at the march that really had me emotional. The first was when they stopped us in the middle of a neighborhood and surrounded us. They attempted to stay stone faced but a few chatty ones commented as we stated our disgust with the system and our plans to continue protesting until our existence is acknowledged. Seeing a large group of people herded into the middle of a street and surrounded by armed officers inspired to me to keep pushing because they were not taking us seriously.
After about 20 minutes they allowed us to march forward, but the police department had already set up a physical blockade on the next major intersection that lead to the highway. The officers were mounted on horses along with dozens standing around watching us. As we stood there face to face with people who have been hired to protect and serve, i began to cry on the inside. My spirit began to scream NO MORE. I screamed, “I went through 26 hours of labor to have my son, and I will not let you take his life away!” I screamed, “NO MORE!” The crowd echoed, “NO MORE!” I began to cry because I had moved from just being passionate to being protective. Protective of my son and his future, but also protective of an entire generation of young people who are facing aggressive and poorly trained officers everyday.
Mothers are powerful people. When they set out on an agenda to get something done, there is little that can stand in their way to stop them. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was founded in May of 1980 and over the past 34 years this organization, started by one mother, has made a tremendous impact on legislation and awareness. Many of the women who share the same passion against drunk driving have also been the mothers of survivors of this circumstance. These women have united and made a difference in the lives of millions across the country.
When you see the strength and resilience of Sabrina Fulton (Trayvon Martin’s mother), Valerie Bell (Sean Bell’s mother), and now Lesley McSpadden (Michael Brown’s mother), you see that they are fighting to keep it together for their family, the public, and themselves. Their pain is being watched and replayed over and over by the media. They are being asked to do interviews as they shed tears and share memories of their sons. They want to see something change, but the solutions are a work in progress because justice did not come and set a new precedent, but continued the history of “not right now.” Seeing these three women together made me realize that they are unfortunately connected by tragedy, but powerful tools to change their tragedy into a union of mothers who want more for their children.
Black mothers are not the only ones losing their children to police brutality, guns, violence, or drugs. Latino mothers have to explain to their sons that interactions with cops can lead to death, so they must be careful and cautious in their words or actions. White mothers are fighting against drugs being sold in their child’s schools or bullying online. All mothers are fighting to protect their children from the negative aspects of this world. We must stand together and fight against the system that is setting our children up to fail. We have to decide that this is the end. No more. We will no longer allow our children’s lives to be in the hands of the government.
We are ridiculed if our child breaks a bone, plays on the playground alone at age 7, if they don’t get perfect grades in school, if they have a short attention span or they get frustrated because they are trying to understand in a pressured environment. Our children’s education, safety, and future is in our hands. We have to declare that we know what is best for our children and the government has to work back towards allowing us to be parents and not educational wardens, teaching for a test instead of through critical thinking. We do not want our face thrown into the public eye because of tragedy, so we must stand together and say NO MORE!
No more. Police Brutality. No more. Bringing drugs in our community. No more. “War on Drugs.” No more. Guns being dumped in our communities. No more. Miseducation of our children. No more. No more. No more.
We as mothers cannot take this any more. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own terms.