It was an emotional moment Tuesday night when the "Mothers of the Movement" took the stage at the Democratic National Convention to speak about their children's deaths and endorse Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The nine mothers walked onstage amid cries of "Black lives matter!" from the crowd, the Los Angeles Times notes, as Geneva Reed-Veal, the mother of Sandra Bland, tried to quiet the audience.
“Give me two moments to tell you how good God is. Give me a moment to say thank you,” Reed-Veal said. “We are not standing here because he's not good. We are standing here because he's great.
“So many of our children gone but not forgotten,” Reed-Veal added. “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.”
The mothers—who have also joined Clinton at different campaign events across the country—spoke about their individual experiences following a video being shown of Clinton meeting and praying with them.
The deaths of their children—all killed through various acts of violence, including gang-related, race-related and police-related—have sparked a movement and engaged a nation.
As the Times notes, although Black Lives Matter has not officially endorsed a presidential candidate, the mothers are among the movement's best-known names.
"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 2012 amid a dispute with a white man about loud music. “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.
"Hillary Clinton isn't afraid to say, 'Black lives matter,’” McBath added. “She isn't afraid to sit at a table with grieving mothers and bear the full force of our anguish. She doesn't build walls around her heart. Not only did she listen to our problems, she invited us to become part of the solution.”
The mothers onstage included the following:
- Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in 2012;
- Lezley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by Ferguson, Mo., Police Officer Darren Wilson in 2014;
- Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, who died after being choked to death by New York City police in Staten Island in 2014;
- Geneva Reed-Veal, the mother of Sandra Bland, who was found hanged in a Waller County, Texas, jail in 2015, in what has since been ruled a suicide. Three days before her death, Bland was arrested in a controversial traffic stop;
- Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis, who was murdered by Michael Dunn in 2012 when Dunn shot him after complaining about the loud music Jordan and his friends were playing in their car;
- Maria Hamilton, the mother of Dontré Hamilton, who was shot by a white police officer in Milwaukee in 2014;
- Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, the mother of Hadiya Pendleton, who was killed after being shot in 2013 by two gang members when the group she was with was mistaken for a rival gang;
- Annette Nance-Holt, the mother of Blair Holt, who died on a Chicago Transit Authority bus in 2007 after attempting to shield a friend from bullets fired by a gang member; and
- Wanda Johnson, the mother of Oscar Grant, who died after being shot by a Bay Area Rapid Transit officer in California in 2009.
As the Times notes, Samaria Rice, the mother of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed by Cleveland police in 2014, was notably missing from the group. Samaria Rice has declined to endorse either Clinton or Republican nominee Donald Trump, telling Fusion recently that no candidate is "speaking my language about police reform."