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The Founder's Corner

Posted By Tiffany A. Bargeman, Monday, June 26, 2017
Updated: Monday, July 3, 2017

 

MOBB United Founder Depelsha McGruder

By Depelsha McGruder

 

          Welcome to the first newsletter of Moms of Black Boys United, Inc. (MOBB United)! If you are new to the organization, we are thrilled to have you here. If you have been with us since our beginning on Facebook last summer, thank you for continuing with us on this journey. In case you’re not familiar with our history, MOBB United started as a Facebook group on July 7, 2016, immediately following multiple deaths of Black men at the hands of law enforcement. In particular, Alton Sterling was killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on July 5 while selling CDs outside of a convenience store, and Philando Castile was killed in St. Anthony, Minnesota on July 6, 2016 following a “routine” traffic stop, with his girlfriend and 4-year-old daughter in the car. We all experienced the graphic images of their brutal deaths on the news and in the case of Mr. Castile, who was a beloved Montessori school cafeteria worker, on Facebook Live. The frustration, fear, anger and anxiety we all felt then is what initially brought us  together. What has kept us together is an unrelenting desire and determination to prevent our own sons and anyone else’s sons from reaching that same fate.

 

          Since the founding of MOBB United, we have continued to grow and evolve organizationally. MOBB United now also includes an advocacy arm, MOBB United for Social Change, Inc. whose primary purpose is to influence policy impacting how Black boys and men are treated and perceived by law enforcement and society.

 

          Over the past year, we have have been strategizing, organizing and activating all across the country. Both organizations have been busy! Here are a few of the things we’ve executed:

 

          Moms of Black Boys United, Inc.:

Attended funerals and provided support for those lost to excessive use of force. A delegation from Texas traveled to Tulsa, OK for Terrence Crutcher’s funeral and presented his wife with a gift. A delegation from California traveled to San Diego to support the family of Alfred Olango and in Los Angeles, provided tangible support to the family of Reginald Thomas, Jr. Our team also created the funeral program for 15-year-old Darius Smith, killed by an off-duty US Customs Officer in Arcadia, CA, in a gesture of MOBB outreach. MOBB United for Social Change urged the City of Balch Springs to push forward on urgently needed police reforms in response to the unjust killing of Jordan Edwards.

Launched multiple image campaigns, including the #ProtectThem campaign to bring more awareness to our cause and promote positive images of Black boys and men, and the #MomsontheFrontLine campaign to pay homage to mom activists who came before us.

-  Hosted meetings or events in more than 20 cities

 Partnered with Points of Light (POL) to execute a nationwide Mother/Son Volunteer Day of Service on MLK Day to teach our sons the importance of service and let the world see them in positive action (POL volunteer site)

Provided personal support and connections to members in need, including connecting a mom with an attorney for critically needed legal help, helping moms navigate school disciplinary actions, and providing “MOBB Aunties Away from Home” for sons away for college.

-  Hosted virtual seminars on topics including Know Your Rights (in partnership with the Legal Aid Society and National Association for Public Defense), Bullying, the 13th Documentary, Dealing with Trauma, isow.com (financial literacy and planning for children), the Legal Equalizer app, Discussing Racial Tensions in Schools, The School to Prison Pipeline, the Criminal Justice System from both sides of the cell (Booker Geez: “Locked Up and Put Away”), How to Handle Interactions with Law Enforcement (with Retired LAPD Sgt. Cheryl Dorsey, author Sonya Whittaker Gragg and parents of the “Michigan 5”) and a special Father’s Day Weekend discussion on the criminal justice system and current cases with Civil Rights Attorney Lee Merritt.

 

          MOBB United for Social Change, Inc.:

 

Rallied around multiple policy change actions, such as a de-escalation bill introduced in Congress last year (HR 5221), Raise the Age in NY, and The Sandra Bland Act in TX.

Partnered with Louisianans for Prison Alternatives (LPA) to advocate for a criminal justice reform package to overhaul Louisiana's draconian criminal justice laws.

Traveled to let our voices be heard all over the country – at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Conference in DC and in meetings with state legislators in Georgia, Louisiana, New York and California.

Organized a voter education campaign to encourage members to learn who is on their ballot and to vote in their elections.

Petitioned (via petitions, letters to officials, emails and calls) to hold law enforcement accountable in the cases of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Terrence Crutcher, Tyre King, Kajuan Raye, Paul O’Neal, Jordan Edwards, Darius Smith and Jayson Negron.

 

          Although we’ve accomplished a lot, we’re really just getting started. The Leadership Team of MOBB United has spent the last few months refining our goals, strategies and initiatives and we are very excited about our plans for the next year.

 

          We are grateful for your support and look forward to partnering with you to make a difference in the lives of our sons and the lives of Black boys and men everywhere. Thank you for believing. United, we WILL prevail!

 

          With sincere gratitude and hope for the future,

 

          Depelsha

   

 

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Tags:  advocacy  Alton Sterling  Booker Geez  de-escalation  Depelsha  founder  founder's corner  funeral  Kajuan Raye  Legal Equalizer  Locked Up and Put Away  McGruder  MLK Day  MOBB Boss  MOBB United  MOBB United for Social Change  moms on the front line  partnering  Paul O’Neal.  Philando Castile  protecctthem  protect them  ProtectThem  school to prison 

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National Vision Board Day

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 13, 2017
Last week, many of you participated in our virtual vision board party hosted by guru Lucinda Cross-Otiti. She taught us how to represent our goals and dreams for ourselves and our sons visually and in living color. By doing so, we are guaranteed to manifest amazing things in our lives. Saturday, January 14 is National Vision Board Day. We encourage you to share your vision boards with the group, even if they are still works in progress! We look forward to seeing your dreams come true over the next year. Lucinda encouraged us to set BOLD goals. My bold goal is to take MOBB United to the next level and for us to truly have an impact as a group of highly informed, engaged, motivated and powerful moms. Thank you for joining me on this exciting journey! xoxo, Depelsha

Tags:  Lucinda Cross  Vision Board 

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Virtual Vision Board Party for Moms & Sons

Posted By Depelsha T. McGruder, Friday, January 13, 2017
Click here to register.

Saturday, January 7, 2017 at 9:30am EDT, join us for Mommy & Son Vision Board Party! Make your own Vision Board with our own member & expert seen in Essence and on the Today Show, Lucinda Cross-Otiti! All of December, our MOBB United Special Needs Moms will prepare for next year with their SUNs by creating and sharing their Vision Boards. Look for their posts that will help you gather materials & get ready for the session with the hashtag #MOBBUVision. TAG and TELL a FRIEND

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Justice for KaJuan Raye

Posted By Depelsha T. McGruder, Friday, January 13, 2017
On Thanksgiving Day, while most of us enjoyed special time with friends and family, KaJuan Raye's mother was finding out that her 19-year-old son had been killed by police. He was on the way home and mistaken for a suspect. He was shot in the back while running away. The police officer said KaJuan pointed a gun at him, but more than a week later, no gun has been found. This case has not received a lot of media attention, but as Moms of Black Boys, we cannot remain silent when another mother's son is gunned down like an animal. We should not wait for the video and outrage. We must speak up and demand justice for this young man now. The police officer has been stripped of his police duties, but is on paid administrative leave. He should be charged immediately, and an independent investigation should be conducted by the Justice Department. Please join us in demanding justice for KaJuan by signing our petition and spreading the word. Let's bring more awareness to this case! https://campaigns.organizefor.org/petitions/moms-of-black-boys-united-seeks-justice-for-kajuan-raye-chicago-il

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Virtual Viewing Party for 13th Documentary

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 28, 2016
I just finished viewing the documentary “13th” on Netflix that was produced by the uber talented Ava Duvernay. Wow. I am left speechless at how well it describes the history of African-Americans’ ongoing relationship with being enslaved (both legally and illegally) in the United States. Specifically, 13th outlines the provisions and loopholes in the 13th amendment. It takes a look at the prison industrial complex and how the war on drugs, privatization of prisons and the need for profit have driven policies that have led to filling prisons at any cost. Most often, the cost is paid by young Black men. Our sons.

This documentary is a must see in that it frames and helps to aid greater awareness and understanding of the tall challenge of the work that we have to do. That’s why M.O.B.B. United is hosting a virtual viewing party. We encourage everyone to watch this important film. We will host a discussion on it very soon, so stay tuned for more information.

Tags:  13th  Ava Duvernay 

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M.O.B.B. United Petition for Terence Crutcher

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 28, 2016
I tried to stay in a cocoon for almost 24 hours trying to protect my mind and heart from news of yet another unarmed Black man being killed by Tulsa police. It took me a looong time to get up enough courage to watch the video. Terence Crutcher (40) had the misfortune of having car trouble on his way home from class and needing aid. But instead of receiving aid, he got a bullet from female police officer Betty Shelby, allegedly for “not complying” to any commands, though we have now all seen video of Terence walking to his car with his hands up. By the way, since when is “not complying to officer commands” an offense punishable by death? It’s not. Unless it’s one of our husbands, fathers, uncles, nephews or SONS. Yes, Terence Crutcher was someone’s son. And husband. And father. And student. And choir member. Yet, none of this mattered to Betty Shelby. I just have one question (well, maybe a few). Does Betty have a son? Has she ever loved and wanted to protect someone so much that it hurts? Has she ever feared for her life, from someone who’s taken an oath to protect her? Has she ever spent sleepless nights hoping and praying her son would make it home, without having unexpected car trouble and encountering some trigger-happy officer?

Sadly, this is a regular day on the job for us MOBBs. And it’s STRESSFUL. And SCARY. And anxiety-inducing. That’s why we need each other. And it’s why we need to DO SOMETHING to stop these unjustified killings of our sons. Since we started mourning Terence’s death, another Black man, Keith Lamont Scott (43), was killed by police in Charlotte. And this follows the killing of 13 year old Tyree King in Columbus, OH just last week. It’s too much to take. That’s why we’re supporting HR 5221, a bill to require deescalation training and implementation. That’s why we need you to sign this petition right NOW to stand up for Terence. Sign the petition to honor his mother. Sign this petition to offer some measure of comfort to his twin sister. Share this petition to build up his four children. They’re counting on us. And our sons are too. #MOBBUnited

https://campaigns.organizefor.org/petitions/mobb-united-for-terence-crutcher-tulsa-ok

Tags:  petition 

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M.O.B.B. United Supports Mandatory De-Escalation Training for Police

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 28, 2016

After a membership poll, M.O.B.B. United has selected mandatory de-escalation training for police officers as our first Policy priority. To that end, we are pushing Congressional representatives to support Federal Bill HR 5221, the Preventing Tragedies Between Police and Communities Act of 2016, which was introduced by Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) and referred to committee on May 12th, 2016.

Highlights of the bill, which would take effect one year after the date of the act, are as follows:

  • Requires the Attorney General to collect data on fund recipients’ efforts to enhance de-escalation training.
  • Requires those enrolled in an academy of a law enforcement agency and law enforcement officers of the state or unit of local government to be trained in de-escalation, including:
  1. Alternative methods of applying force and preventing escalation of a situation.
  2. Verbal and physical tactics to minimize the need for the use of force: communication, negotiation, and de-escalation techniques.
  3. Crisis intervention strategies to appropriately identify and respond to individuals suffering from mental health or substance abuse issues.
  4. Evidence-based practices such as the Critical Decision-Making Model.
  5. Training with an emphasis on theories of de-escalation.

Please join us in support of this bill by contacting your Congressional representative to express your concern for our sons!

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Letter to the Mayor and Police Chief of St. Anthony, MN on Philando Castile

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 28, 2016
Here’s a letter that MOBB United members sent to Mayor Jerry Faust and Police Chief Jon Mangseth of St. Anthony, Minnesota following the decision to reinstate the officer who killed Philando Castile on July 6, 2016 to duty on the police force. This killing, along with the death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge the day before along with numerous other previous unjustified killings of Black males by law enforcement, inspired the creation of MOBB United.

We were thrilled when the decision to reinstate Officer Jeronimo Yanez was reversed. He will remain off duty until the investigation is complete. We believe this demonstrates how local community advocacy combined with national pressure can lead to change. We will continue to follow this case and look for opportunities to partner with other local communities to effect change in their areas. We will post opportunities for you to join us in this mission here on the site. As moms of Black sons, we live in constant fear that an unfortunate police encounter could lead to our sons not returning back home alive. This is not acceptable, and as moms, we can no longer be silent on this issue. We want to partner with other concerned citizens, law enforcement agencies, community organizations and elected officials to change this. Please join us on this journey to make the world a better and safer place for our sons!

August 24, 2016

Mayor Jerry Faust
St. Anthony Minnesota

Moms of Black Boys United (MOBB United) is an international group of more than 132,000 concerned mothers of Black boys and men. We are shocked and outraged by the decision to reinstate Officer Jeronimo Yanez to the St. Anthony Police Department and request that you step in and enforce the reversal of this reinstatement immediately!

In re-instating Office Yanez, the city of St. Anthony displays a lack of accountability, lack of compassion for the Castile family, and lack of concern for our sons. In consideration of this and following his abhorrent and irresponsible actions, we demand Officer Yanez be removed from the force.

Though our members come from various races and demographics, from coast to coast in the United States and beyond. We are all well aware of the apparent racial profiling in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. In an area where only 7 percent of your residents are Black, nearly half of the St. Anthony police department’s arrests in the first half of 2016 were of Black people. Your choice to ignore the facts and allow this incompetent officer to come back to work, without consequence, is as destructive to the community as the actual killing of Mr. Castile.

Mayor Faust, in your defense of Officer Yanez’s character, do YOU also defend his actions that led to the death of an innocent man on July 7, 2016? Do you defend the apparent racial profiling by YOUR department? We, the Moms of Black Boys United, implore YOU, Mayor Faust, to take the necessary steps to ensure accountability for the senseless death of one of YOUR citizens. The public trust has been broken, and there is no accountability for the actions that led to the reinstatement of Officer Yanez. This is disloyal to the community you swore to protect and serve.

Thank you in advance for your prompt and thoughtful attention to this extraordinarily serious and urgent matter.

Sincerely,
A Mom

About MOMS OF BLACK BOYS UNITED: M.O.B.B. United is a nationwide coalition of mothers working together to make the world a safer place for our sons. It started as a Facebook Group on July 7,2016, as a space for mothers of Black sons to share their concerns and fears and propose solutions to the challenges their sons face. Over the past month, the group has grown rapidly from 30 members to more than 132,000 and has developed into an organization. These moms are united in the goal of preventing and prosecuting the harassment and use of deadly force against Black men and boys.

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Open Letter of Support for Colin Kaepernick

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 28, 2016

Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, recently took a stand against racial and social injustice by giving voice to victims of police brutality and remaining seated during the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner. He has since been on the receiving end of disapproval and praise from law enforcers, soldiers, entertainers, politicians, journalists and citizens.

 

Moms of Black Boys (MOBB) United stands with Colin Kaepernick! We are a diverse group of nearly 140,000 members who have been saddened and angered by the leaders in politics and law enforcement who are using Kaepernick’s stance as a distraction from the real issue – law enforcement accountability for unwarranted acts of violence committed against Black citizens.


According to Mapping Police Violence, Blacks are three times more likely to be killed in an encounter with the police; compared to their white counterparts. And yet, only three percent of officers in these cases are held accountable. Instead of being responsive to the statistics which demonstrate a need for change, some law enforcement leaders are blaming Kaepernick for contributing to a growing climate of mistrust between law enforcement and people of color. MOBB United believes that his actions merely shine a spotlight on an issue that has persisted for far too long.


As a result of the lack of accountability in law enforcement, Kaepernick grew disenchanted by The Star-Spangled Banner–a song he believed, along with many others, represented individual freedom and liberty. An interesting fact that continues to be ignored (much like the existence of police misconduct), is the verse in this song that torments [mocks] Black slaves who dared to fight for their individual liberties. The grievances against Kaepernick’s stance strike a very similar tone.
MOBB United stands with Kaepernick and all other individuals of influence who continue to keep this issue in the spotlight. We stand with individual citizens who continue to support police accountability and the ideals of individual liberty in the U.S. Constitution.


Who: MOBB United is a movement and organization that started as a Facebook group founded by Depelsha McGruder on July 7th, as a space for her and 30 of her friends to share concerns, fears and propose solutions to the challenges their son’s face. Today, less than two months later, the Facebook group has grown to over 138,000 members and has developed into an organization. These moms, representing every race, age, socioeconomic background, marital status and education level, are united in the goal of preventing and prosecuting the harassment and unwarranted use of deadly force against Black boys and men.
#ThankYouKAP #MOBBUnited

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Welcome to MOBB United

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 28, 2016
Welcome to MOBB Musings. Here, I will share updates on the latest happenings in MOBB United and personal thoughts on the fun, complicated journey of what it’s like to be a mom of a Black son. With permission, I may also share personal stories that I hear about in my private online community of more than 135,000 moms. I hope you will find it informative, enriching and inspiring. Thanks for visiting our site! Please follow us on Twitter and Instagram @mobbunited.

 
Depelsha (Founder of M.O.B.B. United)

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Moms of Black Boys United - Ensuring that our SUNs Survive and Thrive
 
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Our mission

M.O.B.B. United aims to provide information and support for moms of Black sons while promoting positive images of Black boys and men. Our goal is to influence policy impacting how Black boys and men are treated by law enforcement and society.

Contact Us:
1825 Park Avenue
Ste. 1102
New York, NY 10035
1-877-91-MOBBU
Media@MOBBUNITED.ORG
 

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