DNC 2016: 'Mothers of the Movement' urge voters to support Hillary Clinton

The women - known as the Mothers of the Movement - said Ms Clinton had given them a voice

Andrew Buncombe
Philadelphia
,David Usborne
Wednesday 27 July 2016 01:53 BST
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The 'Mothers of the Movement' urged voters to back Ms Clinton
The 'Mothers of the Movement' urged voters to back Ms Clinton (AP)

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What to say about nine women who take to a stage and talk about their children - shot or killed before their time, by the police or else by strangers?

On Tuesday night, as a succession of women stood before the Democratic National Convention stage in Philadelphia and spoke about those they had lost, most people chose simply to listen, to admire their courage. The women - all of them African American - spoke of the need to address race relations and police reform, while acknowledging the dangers police officers face.

“We have to be here so that we can still say Sandy’s name,” said Geneva Reed-Veal, the mother of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman who died in in a police cell in Texas, after being arrested and jailed for a traffic violation. “I’m still her mother.”

A poster of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was killed in Sanford, Florida in 2012
A poster of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was killed in Sanford, Florida in 2012 (Getty Images)

Ms Reed-Veal was one of nine women, the so-called Mothers of the Movement, who took to the stage on Tuesday, urging people to vote for Hillary Clinton and backing her demand for gun regulation and criminal justice reform.

During the course of the primary campaign, Ms Clinton shared stages with the women. Sometimes she was accused of exploiting their tragedies; others said she was giving them a voice.

“You don’t stop being a mother just because your child dies,” said

Footage shows Sandra Bland in prison

Lucia McBath, mother of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, who was shot by Michael Dunn in Jacksonville, Florida in 2012. The shooting occurred after Mr Dunn, who is white, complained that the music Mr Davis and his friends were playing in their car was too loud.

Ms McBath said that Ms Clinton, who made gun control a central part of her campaign, said she still woke up every day worrying about caring for her son, and honoring his memory.

DNC 2016 - The Independent reports from the convention floor

“She isn’t afraid to sit at a table with grieving mothers and feel the full force of our anguish,” she said. “We are going to keep on telling out stories and keep saying their names.”

Sybrina Fulton, the mother of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who died after being shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in 2012 in Sanford, Florida, said she was not taking part in the group by choice. Neither, she said, were any of the women.

But Ms Fulton, who had watched her son’s killer cleared of murder charges, said it was important to vote for a candidate who was going to address the issue, rather than ignore it.

She said: “Hillary is one woman who can make sure our moment succeeds.”

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