One of the most moving moments of the Democratic National Convention’s second night, together with Larry Sanders’ tearful endorsement of his brother Bernie, happened when African-American mothers of unarmed victims of shootings took the stage to support Hillary Clinton.
To address the current problem of gun violence, police shootings and racism, “mothers of the movement” — who lost their children to guns or in incidents involving law-enforcement officials — spoke about their pain and the need for change.
Their children, these mothers stressed, were more than just names in the news.
The group included the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Jordan Davis and Sandra Bland and as they came onstage, the crowd erupted into chants of “Black Lives Matter.”
“One year ago yesterday, I lived the worst nightmare anyone could imagine: I watched as my daughter, Sandra Bland, was lowered into the ground in a coffin,” spoke Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Bland whose death in jail last July fueled criticism of police treatment of minorities.
“I am here with Hillary Clinton tonight,” Reed-Veal continued, “because she is a leader and a mother who will say our children’s names. 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.”
“You don't stop being a parent when your child dies,” said Lucia McBath, whose 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 2012. “I am still Jordan Davis' mother. His life ended the day he was shot and killed for playing loud music. But my job as his mother didn't.”
Sybrina Fulton, the mother of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin who died after being shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in 2012, said that while she “didn't want this spotlight” she wanted “to focus some of that light on a path out of this darkness.”
Although, over the course of her nearly year-long presidential campaign, Clinton faced some opposition from some Black Lives Matter activists, the support from the group in general for the Democratic presidential nominee has been consistent.
The DNC stage has also provided a national platform to the movement and its cause this election season and it was necessary, considering how the Republican Party’s nominee, Donald Trump believes Black Lives Matter is responsible for violence against police.