By Depelsha McGruder
Volunteer Shout Out: Vanessa McCullers
morning after Alton Sterling was killed, I went to wake my son for
work and found him sitting up in bed. His first words to me was "Mom did
you see how they just killed that man" I was too stunned to respond.
The very next morning we found out that Philando Castile was killed. No
words needed to be said. The words were on my son's face. He was scared,
and so was I. But as his mother, my only thought was that I MUST
PROTECT HIM. As I type this, with tears streaming down my face at the
memory, my determination is just as strong. I cannot sleep soundly until
I know that my son, Crys’ son, Vivian's son, Tasha's son, Depelsha's
sons, ALL OF OUR SONS are safe from the ones sworn to protect them.”
Where does she get the energy?! Vanessa McCullers has been going all out for MOBB United since July 2016, and she seems to be as fully charged as the Energizer Bunny. We know her passion is fueled by her love for her SONshine, Carlos. If you’re wondering what Vanessa does for MOBB United, the answer is well...everything!!!
Vanessa initially began as Co-Chair of the Communications Committee and shortly thereafter, became Chair. She now oversees all of Moms of Black Boys United’s (the 501c3 organization) activities, including Communications, Education and Engagement, Self Care, and the MOBB United Connections Program.
This means she manages a team of leaders and volunteers who handle everything from branding, marketing and PR, content development across platforms, social media strategy and execution, media outreach and op-eds, research studies, education and wellness programs, partnerships, and events.
Vanessa was instrumental in planning the first MOBB United Leadership Retreat in Bethany, PA, and in establishing our presence at the world renowned Essence Festival in New Orleans last year. She’s also brokered significant partnerships, including a partnership with Dr. Luke Wood of San Diego State University, on the “Black Minds Matter” virtual course. In addition, she has personally provided ongoing resources and support to moms who have lost sons to police violence.
Most recently, Vanessa raised her voice as a featured speaker at the Women’s March in San Diego and by penning a powerful op-ed in response to H&M’s misstep in having a young Black male model wear a “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” sweatshirt.
A few more specifics of Vanessa's tireless contributions to MOBB United as Communications Committee Chair include:
- Branding MOBB United to ensure uniformity and consistency in design and language across social media platforms, designs, etc.
- Managing a team of volunteers who write web content for www.mobbunited.com and disseminate mission-critical info via MOBB United's social media platforms
- Facilitating regular Communications Team meetings
- Planning and executing press releases
- Putting MOBB United's mission on the agenda of local and national events
- Participating in MOBB United outreach, visiting victims’ widows and families
- And so much more.
Vanessa has a heart of gold and a battery that never seems to run out. Her mind and heart are constantly churning out new ideas of ways to build and grow the organization’s presence and impact. We honestly don’t know what we’d do without her, and we are so grateful for all of her contributions. Thanks, Vanessa!!!