A group of mothers whose sons have been killed or wounded by police or others is calling for concrete action against racism in law enforcement and the justice system.
At a town hall meeting Wednesday during the National Bar Association’s annual convention, the mothers of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Jordan Davis, and Robbie Tolan decried the deaths of young black men at the hands of police, and deaths caused by others.
Speaking to a large crowd at Greater St. Mark Family Church in Ferguson, the "Mothers of the Movement" told their audience to do more than just “like” things on social media and call legislators. They urged people to get more involved in their communities and the political process.
“It’s not enough to just get laws in place, to get the laws enforced, we got to work now a little harder , a little stronger about changing mindsets," said Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, who was fatally shot by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., in 2012.
One of the most emotional moments came when Adrienne Hood of Columbus, Ohio, asked for advice. Hood said her 23-year-old son, Henry Green, was shot and killed by a plainclothes officer last month.
“What do I do with all of this pain?" Hood asked. "And how can I turn this pain into purpose so that somebody else’s son doesn’t have to suffer.”
Ben Crump, the attorney for the families of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin said the mothers’ appearance was a test run for their moment on the national stage next week, when they are scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
“It’s very important that you hear from the mothers who have figured out a way to turn pain into purpose, to turn tragedy into triumph,” said Crump, president of the National Bar Association.
The association is nation's oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges. It represents the interests of approximately 65,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students. The convention in downtown St. Louis runs through Friday.