By Laila Aziz
Chair of Events and Demonstrations
When I joined the MOBB United Call Center, the first thing I realized was the passion and motivation of Crys Baldwin, Chair of Events and Demonstrations Crys Baldwin. I bet that will be one of the first things any new Call Center team member will notice, too; Crys’ passion is hard to miss!
Crys has named our call center the Gladiators; the fearless 300 ready to fight relentlessly for our sons. Instead of swords, our weaponry of choice is smart mobile devices, emails, and landlines. We navigate expertly through the battlefield, a tangible force based on Crys’ vision. We are sometimes fondly known as “The Mighty Rapid Response Team,” a virtual army of moms who are spread throughout the nation.
My introduction to the Call Center was swift and effective. I found myself commenting on a post on the MOBB United Facebook page; I was outraged by the inhumane treatment of young Black men. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. In response to my comment, I received a notification and a link to MOBBUnited.org, with a comment from Crys Baldwin saying, “Join us in our Call Center, become a member of MOBB United and make a change.
I was curious but also overwhelmed by life. I clicked the link provided and created a guest account. I was not ready to fully commit. To my surprise, within 24 hours I found myself on the telephone with Crys receiving an orientation to the Call Center. This is a forum Crys leads where she works marvels behind the scenes with her dedicated team of moms. Crys utilizes Servant Leadership, and she marches with us moms, challenging us to fight for our sons. Servant Leadership is a performance driven, reverse hierarchical approach where employees or workers are valued. Crys exemplifies this, working as hard as her team and often working for her team and pulling out the best in each of us. We each do a little, in organized and intentional ways, to challenge a system that seems determined to dehumanize our curly-haired legacies.
My orientation conversation with Crys was relaxed but informative; she provided her vision, which ultimately is a team of moms working in a fully-staffed call center. We know our targets, and our mobilization efforts are accurate. We are multi-pronged in our approach -- contacting mayors, police chiefs, district attorneys and government officials. We are ‘on the ground’ working with families when a crisis happens in our respective cities. “Five minutes, 2 calls, ladies; 5 minutes 2 calls is all I ask,” Crys states.
This work can make you weary sometimes, but Crys will ‘pick you up’ when you are tired; she will pray with you, and she will challenge you to take on leadership. She is both motivational and inspirational. She coached us through calling legislatures to ensure that the Sandra Bland Act in Texas passed. Crys hurdled obstacles with us as we demanded sentencing reform in Louisiana, the state with the highest incarceration rate. Under her leadership, we have demanded justice for Jordan Edwards, the Michigan 5, Jayson Negron and Darius Smith. She will push you to join the movement, often proclaiming “The Revolution Ain't Free!”
Crys will tell you about Gabriel, her miracle, and why she fights like she does for our sons. Using her gifts, Crys will give you a space, a purpose and the means to create a better world for our boys and young men.
After spending 5 minutes of my lunch break making a few calls, I feel empowered. When I go home after helping with the Call Center, I tuck my twins into bed and watch them as they sleep. But now, for the first time, after watching the news or reading my Facebook timeline, my terror has subsided. I no longer feel powerless. I am a MOBB.
Join the Call Center and rally with us for change so that you, too, can feel frustrated and powerless no longer. To join, contact Crys Baldwin, Chair of Events and Demonstrations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.