The mothers of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Dontré Hamilton, Hadiya Pendleton, Sandra Bland, Jordan Davis, and Oscar Grant stood together on the Democratic National Convention stage Tuesday Night to give an impassioned endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Their speeches were part of the “Fights of Her Life: Social Justice” portion of the night, which included remarks from Eric Holder, Pittsburgh Chief of Police Cameron McLay, and Innocence Project Artists’ Committee Co-Chair Tony Goldwyn, who introduced the mothers.
The presentation began with a video of Secretary Clinton’s meeting with over a dozen mothers who’d lost children to police violence, a meeting that was supposed to run 30 minutes and lasted over two hours. When the women took the stage, the crowd erupted into a “Black Lives Matter!” chant.
“One year ago yesterday, I lived the worst nightmare anyone could imagine,” said Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland. “I watched as my daughter, Sandra Bland, was lowered into the ground in a coffin. She was my fourth of five daughters, and she was gone.” Reed-Veal continued, “She was found hanging in a jail cell after an unlawful traffic stop and an unlawful arrest.” Bland’s mother went on to list the names of six other women who died in prison this year. “I am here with Hillary Clinton tonight because she is a leader, and a mother, who will say our children’s names,” she said.
“You don’t stop being a mom when your child dies,” said Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis. “You don’t stop being a parent. I am still Jordan Davis’ mother. His life ended the day that he was shot and killed for playing loud music. But my job as his mother didn’t.” McBath went on, “Hillary Clinton isn’t afraid to say that black lives matter. She isn’t afraid to sit at a table with grieving mothers and receive the full force of our anguish … Not only did she listen to our problems, she invited us to be a part of the solution.”
“I did not want this spotlight, but I will do everything I can to focus some of this light on the pain on a path out of the darkness,” said Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin. “Hillary Clinton has the compassion and understanding to support grieving mothers. She has the courage to lead the fight for common sense gun legislation.” She ended by thanking Clinton for standing with her and other mothers, saying, “This isn’t about being politically correct. This is about saving our children. That’s why we’re here, tonight, with Hillary Clinton … I want to thank you for standing with us, and supporting us, and we’d like to leave you with what God has given us: strength, love, and peace.”
The collection of mothers — whom Clinton has dubbed the “Mothers of the Movement” — have been a crucial part of her campaign. The mothers have frequently appeared at campaign stops, where they are introduced as “a group of mothers who belong to a club no one ever wants to join.” Several of the women also appeared in a campaign ad for Clinton earlier this year. Watch the speeches and convention video below.