Press Release - Moms Who Lost Their Children To Gun Violence and Police Actions Share Why They Support Hillary Clinton
"We endorsed her because she endorsed us."
In the middle of a live TV town hall from Columbia, South Carolina, Hillary Clinton took a moment to acknowledge five women in the audience.
She explained: "These five women have lost children to police actions and to random senseless gun violence, and there's no doubt that in each case ... there is a racial component to it."
Sybrina Fulton's son, Trayvon Martin, was murdered by a man who viewed him as "dangerous" because of the color of his skin.
Geneva Reed-Veal's daughter, Sandra Bland, was found hanging in a jail cell after she was pulled over for a routine traffic stop.
Maria Hamilton's son, Dontre Hamilton, was shot 14 times by a Milwaukee police officer.
Gwen Carr's son, Eric Garner, was choked to death by a police officer on the streets of New York.
Lucy McBath's son, Jordan Davis, was killed for playing his music too loudly.
They've come together to take on the issues of gun violence and policing that led to their children's deaths. And they're working hard to elect a president who will take up the fight for real reforms alongside them.
Last November, Hillary Clinton reached out to families who had lost a loved one and invited them to meet in Chicago. Many of the mothers weren't sure what to expect. But what they saw and heard in the meeting stuck with them.
"We poured out our hearts. Where no other candidate would listen to us, Mrs. Clinton did," said Sybrina.
In the months since, they've come together as the "Mothers of the Movement," turning their grief over unthinkable tragedy into a powerful call to action.
Most recently, they headed together to South Carolina. In between campaign stops, Geneva, Maria, Lucy, Sybrina, and Gwen sat down to talk about their experiences on the trail.
Q. What have these last few days been like for you?
Sybrina: We have been extremely busy, but it was with a purpose. We went to a lot of churches, and people showed their support by coming out. They could've been doing anything, but they decided to come listen to what we had to say and why we're endorsing Hillary Clinton. We think we're making a difference.
Geneva: You talk about family, I feel like we're really family. And so this experience has brought us closer. Outside of endorsing Hillary, outside of meeting at these functions, this has really allowed me to see that we are anchored in our faith. And so it's wonderful when you're in like company, and you understand what your purpose is, and you're able to move in that purpose—even beyond the pain.
Sybrina: It's a different kind of pain when you lose a child. These mothers can say, "I know how you feel," and actually know how we feel, how we're still carrying the hurt and the pain around with us every single day. People don't see that often. There's a lot of disappointment, a lot of sadness, a lot of hurt, a lot of pain that we carry around on a daily basis, and it makes it just that much lighter to know that I'm going through this journey—and I got other mothers that are standing with me. I don't wish this on anybody, but if I had to pick somebody, this would be the group that I would pick to go through it with me. Women that, when I'm hurting and I'm in pain, can give me a word. Women that I can give a word to, and they understand that.
Lucy: We're deeply and morally grounded in faith. And that has a lot to do with the reasons why we have been allowed to go through these tragedies—because we understand dynamically that this is just not about our babies, and God has a bigger purpose in what he's doing through us. And so we're taking this to the streets. We know through faith that this is the way we change the course of what's happening in the country. Through faith, we'll be able to make sure that Secretary Clinton becomes the next president of the United States. We will help usher in just a whole new kind of history. We're going to be a part of that—and our children have been the catalyst for that. For us, it's not just being here on the campaign trail. It's much deeper than that.
Maria: We're still hurting. And we know that our children deserved to have somebody fight for them. So we're their voice. They can't fight for themselves. That was stripped away from them. So we want everybody to know .... that we love our children.
Gwen:?And when we talk to the people, we preach. They look at us, and they tell us how strong we are—but we don't look like what we've been through. We've been through a lot. We're going through a lot, and we have a lot to go through!
Gwen:?We know there's a lot of work to do. And we're the ones to do it. And—as I promised my son—I will walk, rally. I will stand up and hold up his name and the names of the nameless and the forgotten, because we all hurt.
Maria:?When this journey is over with this campaign, we still have to go forward. We have to still continue to fight. And with us getting to know each other, us learning each other's strengths, this will help us to go forward in our personal lives—as well as in a group environment.
Q. Why did you decide to support Hillary Clinton?
Maria: We endorsed her because she endorsed us.
Gwen: She came to us and she was concerned about our pain.
Sybrina: She showed us support and concern about what we were going through. No one stepped out of the political arena to do that. None of the candidates reached out to us. When they had their presidential debates, no one spoke about Black Lives Matter. No one spoke about senseless gun violence and how many African Americans were being killed and how no one was being held accountable for it. She supported us before we even supported her.
Maria: She reached out to each one of us individually.
Sybrina: Twelve families were in that private meeting [in Chicago].
Q. What is it like to see so many parents bringing their children to your events?
Lucy: I think we offer a sense of hope for them, because in our communities there's a tremendous sense of hopelessness. We're watching our babies being gunned down in the street, our loved ones and family members being gunned down in the street. And then they're like, "Where do we turn? What do we do?" The laws aren't supporting us. The criminal justice system isn't supporting us. There's nobody supporting us. So for them to be able to see that we stood through the loss of our babies—and we're still standing and moving forward and fighting on their behalf—I think that really gives them a sense of hope.
Lucy: And I think our concern has been that everyone waits for the national election to go out and vote. But it starts at the primaries. You can't wait until the presidential election comes, because then it's too late. We're aiming to move people that may not have gone to the polls. We're trying to be proactive.
Gwen: I think we were able to make people aware of how important it is to get out there and vote. And I think they see that. They get it!
Q. If you could tell the whole world one thing, what would that be?
Sybrina: If I could tell the world one thing, I would tell them to never give up. Never give up!
Maria: I'm hurt but I'm not broke.
Geneva: I would tell them that our children have gone on, but we're still here—and we're still speaking for them!
Gwen: I would tell them that I am a mother that's going to fight for justice as long as there's breath in my body.
Lucy: I'd say that we've been a broken people, but we still rise!
Watch the full video from Hillary's conversation with the mothers, former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and Mark Kelly.
Hillary Clinton, Press Release - Moms Who Lost Their Children To Gun Violence and Police Actions Share Why They Support Hillary Clinton Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/317423