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  • MOBB United for Social Change Policy Committee Progress

    by Marijke Annis

    Marijke Annis     The MOBB United for Social Change MUSC) Policy Committee drives advocacy initiatives for our advocacy arm, MOBB United, Inc.. As a committee, we research policies that impact Black men and boys, identify opportunities to advocate on behalf of our sons, and guide MOBB United's approach and responses to instances where Black men and boys have been victims of unjustified force and violence by police.

     

         The Policy Committee works closely with our Call Center to mobilize our members to respond to key legislative issues and unjustified use of force by law enforcement.  In response to the murder of Jordan Edwards in Balch Springs, TX, we issued a call to action asking members to demand the arrest and termination of the officer and release of the video evidence to the Edwards family. Thanks in part to the efforts of our Call Center, and all the Moms who contacted Balch Springs and Dallas County officials, the officer was terminated from his position and charged with the crime against Jordan.

     

         This Spring, the Policy Committee identified key state legislation that would benefit our Black men and boys and worked with local members on passage of that legislation. In Louisiana, local member Frankie Robertson, (a member of the Policy Committee), worked with other members and with local organizations to secure passage of a Criminal Justice Reform package that included increased training requirements for law enforcement officers; expanded eligibility for alternatives to incarceration; streamlined the parole release process for nonviolent offenders; focused prison space for serious and violent offenders; some lowered mandatory minimum sentences as well as provisions to reduce re-offenses and improve re-entry processes.  

         In Texas, the Policy Committee worked with local members to pass the Sandra Bland Act, which included diversion to mental health facilities when a person in custody shows signs of mental duress, use of eye sensor technology to ensure safety of individuals in county jails, and de-escalation training for all Texas law enforcement officers.

    In California, MOBB United for Social Change continues to support Senate Bill 10, which seeks to eliminate money bail. CA Senate passed their version of the bill, and the Assembly moved it out of committee on July 12th. We will continue to monitor this legislation as it moves through the Assembly.

         The Policy Committee, in partnership with the Call Center, local MOBB United members and other advocacy groups, successfully pushed for Raise the Age legislation in New York. Governor Cuomo signed the legislation on April 10, 2017, resulting in 16- and 17-year-olds charged with misdemeanors being handled in Family rather than Criminal Court and no longer allowing 17-year-olds to be held in county jails like Rikers Island. We believe this is a significant step forward in safeguarding our sons in the state of New York.

         Moving forward, we are also focusing on developing relationships with other critical groups that will help further our mission. We are seeking meetings with key Congressional and State legislators to educate them on MOBB United for Social Change and to explore how to partner with them. We have also identified other advocacy groups with similar missions and are reaching out to forge new partnerships with them to help drive policy change.

         There are many subcommittees that drive our work and that would welcome your participation. Our Policy Updates subcommittee drives our research, to make sure we are always aware of the latest developments. Our Policy Message subcommittee ensures that we develop the most compelling, data-driven arguments and messaging to support our advocacy efforts. Finally, our Policy Strategy subcommittee ensures that we create and leverage the right opportunities to impact policies and successfully advocate for our sons.

     

     

         Our efforts to advocate for better policies for our sons have only just begun. There are opportunities to change laws and policies at the local level by voting in new mayors, district attorneys and sheriffs who embrace improving law enforcement policies and practices or supporting critical state legislation that protects our sons. To do this, we need local mobilization from our members. We need YOU for this fight!

     

         If you have the drive to seek policy solutions and be an advocate for your son(s), then please join the Policy Committee. If you have a background in law or policy, then the Policy Committee especially needs YOU! We meet every other week on Thursdays via conference call at 10 PM EST. For more information contact: [email protected].

     

  • published Black Maternal Trauma - Part 1 in Cause (c4) 2023-12-03 10:13:56 -0600

    Black Maternal Trauma - Part 1

    By Uchechi Eke

    Uchechi Eke

    The Facts

    • 581 people have been killed by the police in 2017 so far.

    • 25% (a quarter) or 145 of those killed in 2017, are Black. African-Americans make up just 13% of the population.

    • 309 Black people were killed by the police in 2016.

    • Black people are 3 times more likely to be killed by police than white people.

    • Black people are 7 times more likely to be killed in Oklahoma than Georgia.

    • 19 of the 100 largest U.S. city police departments kill Black men at higher rates than the U.S murder rate.

    • 99% of police involved shootings in 2015 did NOT result in any officer being convicted.

    The Problem

         To coincide with MOBB United’s 1-year anniversary, I was asked to compile a list of unarmed Black boys/men killed by police between July 2016 and July 2017.

         I knew the data existed.

         I knew it would be a daunting and cumbersome task.

         I knew it would resurrect painful memories.

         I never expected my role as a mother to be questioned: “Am I really in a position to protect my son?”

         The Washington Post began tracking all fatal shootings by on-duty police in 2015, in the aftermath of the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

         Since Brown’s killing, other fatal shootings by police, many captured on video, have fuelled protests and calls for reform. Some police chiefs have taken steps in their departments to address and reduce the number of fatal encounters, yet the overall numbers compared to 2016 remain unchanged.

         I have highlighted a few cases that occurred in the last 12 months below:

    2016:

    2017:

         Nothing prepares you for the emotional trauma you experience every time you read the details of a new case. I find myself always caught off guard by the images of the deceased. I am always haunted by the pain that lies behind the eyes of the mother.

         As mothers of Black boys, there should be a limit to our pain. There should come a time when extrajudicial killings are a thing of the past. There should be an upper ceiling, where the number of extrajudicial killings should never reach. But there is no limit. Black bodies are slain almost weekly. And every time we witness a murder, we re-live the trauma.

         The images of unarmed Black boys/men being brutalized by police has become inescapable. The cases above highlight this pandemic. We visualise the victim as being our son(s). Viewing videos of people being gunned down by police is not psychologically healthy. The mental scars that result from witnessing excessive force against Black people creates a form of collective trauma. Police brutality then becomes part of our daily consciousness -- our lived experience -- causing anger, fear, frustration and a sense of hopelessness.

         African-Americans experience Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) at a higher rate than any other ethnic group, according to a study published in 2010 by PubMed. Repeatedly viewing physical trauma can have other adverse effects often associated with post-traumatic stress, including jumpiness, anxiety and paranoia.

         Another worrying trend, is that almost all victims noted above were unarmed or had a toy weapon. Implicit bias leads many officers to possess an irrational and heightened sense of fear. They see Black males and automatically ‘fear for their lives’. Cops are trained to be calm in hostile environments. As part of their training, de-escalation is the first priority. But in recent incidents, ‘shoot on sight’ seems to be the modus operandi. Even when officers carry militarized weapons, or are accompanied by a SWAT,  they still are incapable of controlling the situation without resorting to deadly force.

         But the question still remains: How can I protect my son?”

         Am I complicit in de-humanising our boys by sharing these graphic images and by researching their deaths?

         Does the utility of these images, circulated on social media and via news channels actually inspire shame, outrage and activism?

         Or do they just desensitize us, exacerbating our pain and further contributing to our psychological trauma?

         Have we become too ‘numb’ to act?

    The Solutions

         Whether we see these killings as being state sanctioned, racially motivated or part of the wider system of white supremacy, the discourse must change -- from a discussion about criminal justice reform, to a debate that results in society viewing this problem as a national health crisis.

         With nominal charges being brought, and without convictions that stick, justice seems out of our reach. Thus, if there is a cultural shift, and the death toll is regarded as a public health issue, affecting not only the immediate family, then maybe we would see a reduction in race-based police violence.

         Our boys must be seen as human first. Not as criminals. Not as a menacing threat. In a significant number of the cases, the victim struggled with a mental illness. They needed medical assistance, not a death sentence.

         The trauma faced by mothers, members of the family and the wider community must be taken into account. Departments cannot continue to use our tax dollars on settlements. They cannot afford to recurrently restore communities after protests and riots. If departmental budgets are reduced, or pensions affected, salaries capped, steep penalties applied (including a rise in insurance premiums for fatal force), or higher conviction rates, then maybe, just maybe, we will begin to see less of our sons dying before our very eyes.

         We know ‘respectability politics’ is flawed and biased. More white boys use drugs, but are not profiled or arrested at higher rates. White boys also wear hoodies and low-slung jeans, but they are not stopped, searched and beaten.

         So what do we tell our sons, and as mothers, what can we do? Here are some solutions:

    • Education & Awareness – Our boys need to be more vigilant, go out in ‘groups’. Many of the cases involved a single boy or man. It is more likely that police would shoot a lone individual, than a group of boys or men. Our sons also need to ‘know their rights’ when confronted with police. They need to know what to ask and how to respond.

    • Community Policing – More Black men and black women need to work on the police forces. Officers should reside in the areas they police. It is less likely that a cop who is acquainted with his neighbours would harm them. We must also make an effort to engage with officers, attend meetings and hold them accountable.

    • Advocacy & Action – More moms need to campaign, fundraise and take part in demonstrations -- from writing letters and signing petitions, to calling local police departments and attending rallies, to being visible at public consultations, meetings and hearings – it all helps the cause!

    • Political Engagement -– Representation matters -- from the cop on the street to the judge in the courtroom. We need to be occupying all positions. We also need to vote during all local, state and presidential elections. We need to canvass on behalf of fair officials and chiefs, and root out and vote against the corrupt and indifferent ones.

         Let me know what you think. What else can we do? How do you protect your peace and protect your son?

         Join us on the front lines. We can no longer be witnesses to murder. Silence is complicity. Get involved and register at www.mobbunited.org/join.

  • MOBB United at Essence Woke Mom 2017 Festival

    By Vanessa McCullers

    Moms of Black Boys United (MOBB United) marks the first in a series events to commemorate
    the organization's 1st anniversary, with a debut at the
    2017 Essence Festival. 

        July 4, 2017 (New Orleans) – Moms of Black Boys United (MOBB United) made its first appearance with great impact at the 2017 Essence Festival. Their booth activation in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center was a hub of activity, attracting moms from all over the country looking for a way to help protect their sons, nephews, brothers and husbands from harsh injustices of police brutality, racial profiling and the school-to-prison pipeline. This activation signified the first major step in a series of events that will commemorate the organization’s first anniversary or “MOBBiversary.” The Essence Festival theme, "Woke Wonderland," provided a perfect fit for the organization, which is currently running a "Woke Mom" campaign to identify their members who are fully aware and ready to address the issues that face the men in their lives. "Being at the Essence Festival for the first time to spread the mission of MOBB United was an amazing experience. I met women from all over the globe who personally  connect to our message of protecting our sons. The spirit of sisterhood and empowerment was invigorating and inspiring,” shared Founder Depelsha McGruder.

         Please enjoy this video of that monumental event. You’ll also find the full post-event press release attached, including some wonderful details and photo.

  • published MOBB United for Social Change Call Center in Cause (c4) 2023-12-03 09:49:21 -0600

    MOBB United for Social Change Call Center

    By Laila Aziz

    Crys Baldwin, Chair of Events and Demonstrations
    Crys Baldwin
    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 [email protected].

  • Baton Rouge, LA Chapter: Busy MOBB United Moms!

    Frankie Robertson

     

    By Frankie Robertson

     

              Did you know that Moms of Black Boys United, Inc. (MOBB United) has chapters in various cities across the country? We have sons in every city. Wherever we have sons, we get busy with our advocacy. Advocacy is the biggest part of being a member of MOBB United, and it allows us to achieve pertinent and urgent changes throughout the country. Our MOBB United for Social Change Baton Rouge, LA Chapter has been especially busy advocating, which is much needed because Louisiana has the highest rate of incarceration in the WORLD.  

     

              Like the Baton Rouge moms, you can BE about the business of protecting our sons. Every member of MOBB United can do grassroots work like this chapter has done to be directly involved in MOBB United’s mission (influence policy, change perception, demonstrate our power, partner strategically, and promote self-care). We all can help protect our sons by:

     

    - Responding to MOBB United for Social Change action alerts.

    - Participating in MOBB United Saturday national calls.

    - Sharing the MOBB United for Social Change Facebook page and inviting friends to like the page.

     

    FACE IN THE PLACE

     

    - Attending regular community meetings related to police reform.

    - Attending Metro Council meetings when the agenda includes police reform measures.

    - Attending legislative committee hearings addressing the need for police reform measures in advance of the 2017 legislative session.

    - Attending legislative committee meetings addressing criminal justice reform and prison alternatives, as well as the subsequent bill signing.

    CRJ Bill Signing

    - Attending the Louisiana Public Broadcasting televised Town Hall meeting, “The Black and The Blue” addressing stressed interactions between the black community and law enforcement.

    - Attending a viewing and panel discussion of documentary 13th, by Ava DuVernay.

    - Attending a viewing of the documentary “I Am Not Your Negro”, directed by Raul Peck, based on James Baldwin's unfinished manuscript.

    - Attending Governor John Bel Edwards Joint Address of the Louisiana Legislature for the convening of the 2017 Legislative Session.

    - Attending weekly Louisianans for Prison Alternatives coalition weekly coalition conference calls and in person strategy sessions to plan lobby day and track legislation.

    - Attending the release of the Justice Reinvestment Task Force Recommendations and Press Conference at the State Capitol.

    - Attending Q&A “Gov Talks” session hosted by Governor John Bel Edwards to have Q&A with members of the Justice Reinvestment Task force regarding the group’s criminal justice reform recommendations.

     

    HANDS TO THE PLOW

     

    Participating in:

    - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service.

    - The Women’s March of New Orleans (public event details).

    - A televised Louisiana Public Broadcasting Town Hall meeting regarding the November 2016 elections and bringing mass incarceration concerns to the forefront.

    - The Louisianans for Prison Alternatives Coalition overall work and Lobby Day related to criminal justice reform in LA.

     

    WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK

    - Working with like-minded organizations addressing disparities for African-American males. Organizations include Urban Congress on African American Males and most recently, Progressive Social Network of Baton Rouge.

    - Livestream of LPA lobby day activities.

    - Met with State Representative Ted James and Councilman Lamont Cole to introduce to MOBB United and MOBB United for Social Change. We also discussed opportunities for policy recommendations and bills to address police reform and institutional racism in Baton Rouge and across the state.

    - Hosted first Meet & Greet on May 6.

     

    MOBB United applauds the Baton Rouge Chapter’s efforts. Keep up the great work!

     

  • published MOBB United Policy Committee Overview in Cause (c4) 2023-12-03 08:15:16 -0600

    MOBB United Policy Committee Overview

    Delicia Hand

    By Delicia Hand

     

             Before I became a mother, I always admired the ability of moms -- of Black and brown boys in particular -- to keep focused and remain calm and positive in the multitude of adverse situations they and their sons encountered.  When I'd hear my sisters, cousins and friends talk about the challenges they faced in the educational system, or hear my older nephews talk about their interactions with law enforcement officials, I would become infuriated to the core. "Never my child," I would say.  Or “These people are going to have to kill me if I ever have a son." I had no idea how these moms, in the face of such adversities, could manage to be constructive and fight calmly for their sons. Now that fight is my fight; their sons are my sons. 

             So, in the Fall of 2014 -- just a few months after Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri -- when the country was still brimming with debate and heated tensions, and merely days after Tamir Rice was gunned down in his neighborhood park -- I learned that I was expecting a child. A few months later, scans confirmed I was having a boy; instead of joy, I felt fear, anxiety, and disappointment. On one hand, I was grateful to be able to carry a successful pregnancy to term. On the other hand, I realized that I would now bring into the world someone whom I would love with my entire being but still be incapable of shielding from the world and how he might be perceived. Before he even came into the world, race mattered. I feared for his life and felt powerless. This is how my journey into motherhood began. 

             When my son Lucian was born, as instance after instance of continued police violence against Black men and boys continued to fill the headlines and social media, I was overcome with rage and heartache. This was the world I had brought my child into.  Something had to change; I wracked my brain. I'd spent my career in policy and politics; so activism and engagement on an issue wasn't new.  I'm an attorney; I'd worked on Capitol Hill, I'd testified before Congress on policy issues, I've represented consumers on complex issues; but felt powerless to help my own child. Where law school and my career had taught me the skill of dispassionate engagement, there was no way to be dispassionate about my son. I had never had so deep a personal connection to something that it was simultaneously paralyzing as it was motivating. Although I knew how to address the issues I was observing, none of the groups and communities of which I was a part addressed the unique emotional distress and burden of raising a Black son, nor did they provide tools and resources to equip mothers to improve the policies affecting their sons. I joined local moms groups and Mocha Moms hoping to find support among other moms, particularly moms of color and moms of Black sons. But, there was no space for these issues. 

             Like an answer to a prayer, at the end of the same week of Alton Sterling's and Philando Castile's deaths, a friend added me to the Moms of Black Boys United, Inc. (MOBBU) Facebook group. It was a relief to be amongst -- albeit virtually -- other mothers to whom I felt connected instantly. They would understand my fears and anxiety, but they also would understand the urgency of this current and every future moment. I plugged in immediately; I joined calls. And when the group began to form issue committees, I joined the Policy Committee and Organizational Development committee. I didn't really care in what capacity I joined. I wanted to be a part of the conversation, and I wanted to use my skills to help in anyway possible. Suddenly, the appreciation that this journey wasn't just about my son, but all of our sons, was empowering and motivating. 

             I'm currently chair of our Policy Committee, which primarily drives advocacy initiatives for our sister organization, MOBB United for Social Change. As a committee, we research policies that impact Black men and boys, identify opportunities to advocate on behalf of our sons, and guide MOBB United's responses to and approach in instances where Black men and boys have been victims of unjustified force and violence by police. 

             In the 9 months since the organization’s founding, the Policy committee has helped to:    

                   - Facilitate MOBB United's participation in the Congressional Black Caucus's (CBC) Annual Legislative Conference.

                   - Drive a down ballot voter education campaign.

                   - Encourage MOBB United moms’ participation in state advocacy initiatives.

                   - Administered several calls to action, encouraging moms to reach out to local, state, and federal elected officials.

                   - Meet with state and federal legislators to advocate for better policies for our sons.

             We've only just begun. This year, we are focused on developing relationships with key Congressional and State legislators, forging partnerships with organizations that share similar goals and missions. We need you and your energy for the fight!

             If you have a background in law or policy, join the committee! If you have passion and energy to seek out policy solutions and be an advocate for your son, join us! We have a few subcommittees that drive our work. Our Policy Updates subcommittee drives our research, so we always are aware of latest developments. Our Policy Message subcommittee ensures that we develop the most compelling, data-driven arguments and messaging to drive our advocacy efforts. Finally, our Policy Strategy subcommittee ensures that we create and leverage the right opportunities to impact policies and successful advocate for our sons.

             We meet every other week at 10 PM EST. For more information contact: [email protected].

     

               *Congratulations to Delicia Hand, who delivered her second son, Theodore Nigel Hand, on June 13, 2017.*

     

  • published #ProtectThem Louder in Cause (c4) 2023-12-03 07:39:42 -0600

    #ProtectThem Louder

     

    Pamela Wood-Garcia

    By Pamela Wood-Garcia

     

              As Moms of Black boys and men, we all know that our sons experience a plethora of injustices. The greatest of these injustices is untimely, unwarranted deaths at the hands of law enforcement. These incidents have taken place for hundreds of years with little to no accountability. In the last several years, there has been a heightened awareness of these incidents because social media has served as a periscope to the black community, giving us much clearer insight as to how the judicial system allows police officers literally to get away with murder. By now, we all have witnessed the cold-blooded killing of Black men and boys caught on the camera phones of bystanders and uploaded to social media. Even a few murders have been streamed live on Facebook while the world watched.

     

               Question: Are we protecting them “loud” enough?

     

               During President Barack Obama’s administration, there was a constant influx of information about these unjustified murders circulating on social and mainstream media. The information was so moving that it served as the catalyst for Moms of Black Boys United, Inc. (MOBB United) to be formed. But suddenly, it seems as if the attention to our sons’ plight is being overshadowed by other headlines. News stories abound now of attacks on immigrants and the torching of synagogues and mosques. What? No word on the brother who was murdered by police last month in Tennessee? He streamed his own murder live on Facebook! No word on the three 15-year-old Black boys murdered in Texas, Connecticut, and California by cops? The media gave a vague overview of each incident and chucked them. It is as if we are expected to move about like the murders of Black boys and men have magically disappeared. Yeah, right…not in America and certainly not during the current presidential administration.

     

               President Donald Trump’s campaign promised to build a ”tremendous wall” to keep Mexican immigrants -- to whom he referred as rapists, drug dealers, and thieves -- out of the United States. He also swore to place a ban on Muslim refugees to keep them from entering the country so acts of terrorism could not be committed on American soil. He topped off all of his campaign promises with anti-semitic remarks and appointees. Since Trump was elected, there has been an increase in hate crimes towards these groups of people. These incidents deserve the ample attention they are getting in the media, but there once was the same kind of media spotlight on law enforcement murdering Black boys and men. Where did that push go? The world still needs to be informed when an innocent man is demonized and executed for his Blackness. We, as a people, still need to be seen and heard on these issues. This blog is not being written to downplay the social injustices that happen in non-Black communities but to let people know that the killings of Black boys and men are still taking place! MOBB United is stepping up -- more than 175k moms strong -- to carry out this mission.

     

               MOBB United was formed as a light in the midst of the darkness surrounding the slayings of Philando Castille and Alton Sterling. They both were killed by law enforcement within 24 hours of one another during what should have been routine stops. Neither man was brandishing a weapon nor using any kind of derogatory or threatening language. Neither man resisted any of the police officers’ commands. Philando’s four-year-old daughter and girlfriend witnessed his murder in a car while Alton’s community watched his murder in front of a store. The harshest reality of the deaths of these men is that there may never be any justice served for either of them. Philando’s killer was acquitted of all charges on June 16, 2017. Only God knows what will happen in Alton’s case. Most likely, more of the same blatant injustice.The cases would have been tried with convictions if the tables were turned. If a cop was shot in his chest at point blank range by two Black men holding him down on the ground, the two Black men would be dead or in prison awaiting execution. If a Black man had shot a white cop through a car window in front of his four-year-old child and girlfriend, he would have been hunted down and killed or put in prison for the rest of his life. No one would be considering their actions self-defense.  

     

               Alton and Philando were loving human beings executed like rabid animals. Alton’s execution was caught on camera and uploaded to the internet while Philando’s was streamed live by his girlfriend. The next day, MOBB United’s founder, Depelsha McGruder, started a Facebook group called Moms Of Black Boys. Her first post read, “I am starting this group because I don’t know what else to do.”  She added 30 other moms of Black boys. Those moms could relate to her raw emotion and they added other moms with Black sons whom they knew would relate to  Depelsha’s post. Out of this, MOBB United was formed. Since its founding, there have been at least 20 more Black men and boys killed during interactions with police officers, but the media has largely turned its attention elsewhere, towards the hatred we are seeing directed at other groups. However, there is a profound difference between hate crimes committed by HATE groups and what amounts to hate crimes committed by law enforcement. Police officers have taken an oath to protect and serve every citizen in their jurisdiction. They represent the law, the state. Yet they murder Black men and boys for flinching during routine traffic stops? They murder people with mental illnesses who are in distress? They murder our sons because they know it is a crime that almost anybody with a gun and a badge can commit without consequence. What can be done to put an end to these senseless crimes? MOBB United is on the right track.

     

               MOBB United’s mission is fundamental to the goal of protecting our sons and eradicating these killings: to provide information and support for moms of Black sons and promote positive images of Black boys and men; to influence policy impacting how Black boys and men are treated and perceived by law enforcement and society.  MOBB United stands on five pillars that are to change the perception that the world has of Black men and boys; influence legislative policy; demonstrate collective political, and economic power within the communities that we serve; strategically partner with organizations that can assist MOBB United in carrying out its mission; and to promote self-care for moms of boys and their families. This begins and ends at home with moms.

     

               As moms, it is our responsibility to make sure our sons understand how the world sees them. Perception is nine-tenths of a person’s reality. Research shows that 10-year-old Black boys are perceived as a threat to the rest of society and many people fear them. Our sons need to be made aware of this. This is not to stifle who they are but to raise their awareness as we parent to create good character, healthy self-images, and healthy interactions. Knowledge of self is imperative to creating these qualities. This means teaching them that there is greatness in African-American history and culture. This also means teaching them that they are a reflection of that history and culture, and they can achieve anything to which they put their minds. As MOBB United travails to change the perception that the world has of our beautiful sons, MOBB United for Social Change is calling, writing, and meeting with local, state, and federal officials in droves to influence change in legislative policy and to ensure that once change has occurred, it is enforced to the fullest extent of the law. Demonstrating our collective economic and political power, changing perception of our men and boys, and influencing policy and legislation won’t bring back any of our beloved Black men or boys, but it will save lives in the future. It will make a police officer think twice before he or she decides to use lethal force or even racially profile a Black male. It will let moms of Black boys and men all over the world know that somebody is standing in the trenches working, fighting, and praying for them.

     

               MOBB United’s action pays homage to the memory of the fallen. It lets the world know that victims, including Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Mario Woods, Newman Demarco, Alfred Olango, Jason King, Levonia Riggins, Reginald Thomas Jr., Terrance Coleman, George Meyers, Philando Castille, Alton Sterling, Jayson Negron, Darius Smith, Jordan Edwards, Terence Crutcher, Alfred Olango, as well as so many others like them nationwide and even worldwide, were important human beings whose lives had great value. Their lives and deaths sparked the mother of all movements. MOBB United is here to defend, protect, and advocate for our Black boys and men. We are here to fight; we are here to win; we here for our sons.

     

              Let's protect them LOUDER.

     

     

  • published Cause (c4) in Early Days 2023-12-03 07:39:13 -0600

    Cause (c4)

    Policy and Advocacy Committee Progress
    Posted by · February 04, 2024 9:22 AM

    Get Up, Get Out, and Cast Your Ballot
    Posted by · November 02, 2020 8:55 AM

    MOBB United for Social Change Call Center Update
    Posted by · December 31, 2019 8:44 AM

    See all posts
  • Founder's Corner: Our Sons' Right to BE

    By Depelsha McGruder

    Depelsha McGruder, Founder Since the last edition of The Messenger, two more Black males have been in the news for being killed by police. 22-year-old Stephon Clark of Sacramento, CA was gunned down in his family's backyard while holding a cell phone. Officers fired 20 rounds, with 8 bullets piercing through Clark’s body. 34-year-old Saheed Vassell, a Jamaican immigrant living in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, was gunned down by NYPD because he was wielding a metal pipe. He was a welder and suffered from mental illness. These cases and many others like them serve as a constant reminder of how precarious life is for a Black man trying to survive in America. You’d think no place would be safer than the yard of your grandmother’s home, yet Stephon Clark couldn’t even find safety there. Another case that stopped me in my tracks was the April 12th case of a teenager in Rochester Hills, MI, who missed his bus, got lost trying to walk to school, and asked for directions. Instead of offering this 14-year-old young man (who was clearly determined to get to school to get an education) some help and guidance, neighbors immediately became afraid at the mere sight of him at their front door and shot at him instead. The boy only survived because the overanxious shooter forgot to take the safety off of the gun. (But yet we’re just being paranoid, right?)

    With incidents like this, it is very difficult to know how to effectively prepare our sons for a world that is clearly hostile toward and afraid of their very existence. If your son is walking down the street, should you advise him to carry absolutely nothing in his hands for fear of any object (i.e., cell phone, wallet, pipe) being mistaken for a gun, thereby legally justifying his instant assassination? If our sons get lost, should they not ask anyone for help for fear of being considered a suspect vs. a child in need of adult concern and assistance?

    Every day, the matrix of how to survive as a Black male in America becomes more complex and unclear. This is why MOBB United is dedicated to changing negative perceptions of Black males and to pushing for changes in policies that justify our sons being unfairly targeted and killed.

    We invite you to join us in the struggle by becoming a member and/or volunteering today. This clearly is not a problem that will be solved overnight, but it is OUR responsibility to persist nevertheless—until our sons can walk down the street without constantly having to look over their shoulders and be expected to apologize for their presence.

  • MOBB United: Striving to be Experts in the Black Male Experience

    By Depelsha McGruder

    Depelsha McGruder, Founder     This month, I have been heavily reminded of the reason MOBB United exists. As you probably know, the organization started following multiple police killings of unarmed Black boys and men that were unjustified, but were not punished under the law. Although our mission started in response to police brutality and unwarranted use of deadly force by law enforcement, it doesn’t end there. This is because police brutality that leads to death usually happens at the end of a very long process of constant harassment of Black men and boys throughout their lifetimes. When Eric Garner was choked to death by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo for selling loose cigarettes, he had been arrested twice already that year. When Philando Castile was pulled over, allegedly for a broken taillight, and fatally killed while reaching for his license and registration, he had already been pulled over 49 times in 13 years.

         Black males endure a life filled with misperceptions and harassment that begins before they even reach puberty. The suspicion they face doesn’t just come from law enforcement officers. Misperceptions of Black boys and men also abound with teachers, store clerks, and neighbors, who often assume on sight that they’re likely to be up to no good. Just this week, a friend’s teenage son wrote a column (that you will see featured among our stories this month) after a White adult female neighbor racially profiled him and alerted neighbors online of his presence in his own neighborhood. He was simply sitting down and talking with a friend outside her house. I’ve heard this same story dozens of times. Trayvon Martin died senselessly because of overzealous “neighborhood watch.”

         Our boys’ skin and bodies are weaponized at a very early age. And yes, I said our boys. Because though there absolutely are challenges that other populations, including Black girls, face that are very worthy of consideration, support and advocacy, the Black (and brown) male experience of navigating life in America is unique. One of the things I often do in MOBB United meetings when speaking to new potential members is ask the women in the room to raise their hands if they have ever been harassed or targeted by a police officer. Very few, if any, hands go up. But when I ask whether any Black male in their family—son, father, brother, uncle, nephew—have been harassed, brutalized or unfairly targeted by police, inevitably, every hand is raised.

         Needless to say, we believe in justice and equality for all people, and I know the value and power of intersectionality, which is recognizing that all of our struggles are overlapping and ultimately connected. That is why we enthusiastically support and join together with other organizations who are fighting for justice for all or for other specific disenfranchised groups. But when someone responds to a Black male’s experience by reminding them of all of the other people who have been harassed and killed TOO (without regard for the difference in their daily experience), it is the equivalent of saying “All Lives Matter” to the Black Lives Matter movement. Of course, Black boys and men are not the only people to be harassed and killed, but statistics show that they are most likely, in fact three times more likely to be killed by a police officer than anyone else. Unlike others, they are often deemed guilty and dangerous on sight, often without the benefit of conversation or negotiation, before their lives are changed or snuffed out forever.

         This is why Moms of Black Boys United, Inc. and MOBB United for Social Change, Inc. exist. Our sons are worthy of having someone fighting for them. We seek to be a comprehensive resource and voice for moms of Black boys and men. We are striving to be experts in the Black male experience, which is fraught with people second guessing them, expecting less of them, and viewing them as superhuman yet not human at all at the same time. We are particularly focused on all of the factors that lead to Black boys being funneled into the school-to-prison pipeline. We are equipping moms and sons with resources to help them navigate systems—education, criminal justice, and mental health—so that they will be prepared to advocate successfully in any situation. We are advocating for policy change—at the local, state, and federal levels—so that after we’ve done all that we can to ensure our sons’ success, we know that they have a safety net of justice and accountability. If we are successful, the gains we make on behalf of our sons, who are often the #1 target for discrimination and brutality, will ultimately benefit all disenfranchised groups.

         Clearly, we have a long way to go. But I urge you to join us in the struggle by becoming a member or donor of MOBB United. Thanks to everyone who supported us in any way during our first year. More to come!

         #Forward!

         Depelsha


  • Supporting Moms of Black Boys United, Inc.

          
    The Founders Corner - Depelsha McGruder       If you’ve been following our organization for a while, you already know that there are two sides to MOBB United’s mission and approach. MOBB United for Social Change, Inc. (MUSC) is our membership organization, which is dedicated to advocating for policy change at the local, state and federal level. Through MUSC, we articulate a united agenda to push public officials and systems to pass legislation and implement changes that improve the lives of Black boys and men.

           This month’s newsletter is dedicated to our sister organization, Moms of Black Boys United, Inc., a 501c3. I describe Moms of Black Boys United as the “doing our part” organization. While pushing the system to change through MUSC, we must also make sure we are doing all that we can to prepare our sons adequately for the challenges they will face and the opportunities that will become available to them.

           Moms of Black Boys United, Inc. aims to be a comprehensive resource for moms of Black sons. Our vision is to become a “one stop shop” for moms, by equipping them with access to information and resources that enable them to advocate most effectively for their sons in all kinds of situations. Currently, we are focused on helping moms navigate the education, criminal justice and mental health systems. Our goal is to help prevent our sons from falling into many of the pitfalls and traps that are set for Black males. And when tragedy strikes, we want to have the resources to be there in tangible ways for moms and sons in need.

           For those of you who’ve joined our Saturday calls, you know that we have regular speakers on all kinds of topics that are relevant for moms and sons – from Know Your Rights and How to Interact with Law Enforcement to Preventing Bullying and the School to Prison Pipeline. Over the next year, we want to expand from virtual seminars to in-person forums and discussions in cities all over the country to amplify our message and include community stakeholders in developing solutions. In addition, we want to continue to reverse negative perceptions of our sons by telling our stories in a variety of mediums.

           The good news is we have the talent within MOBB United to accomplish all of this and more. What we don’t have is the financial resources. To date, our organization has been completely self-funded; but to grow and expand, we need your help. Please consider donating to Moms of Black Boys United, Inc. this month at mobbunited.org/donate. I hope you will take the time to read this month’s issue to learn more about Moms of Black Boys United’s efforts and how you can help.

           In service and solidarity,

           Depelsha

  • Founder's Corner - An Open Letter to the President

    By Depelsha McGruder

     

         Our sons are heading back to school, and heavy on my mind is what they may encounter when walking or driving home from school. In this age of “law and order,” it is our responsibility to make sure they are well aware and prepared for what the current climate may bring. If those who have vowed to protect and serve all citizens were to listen to our nation's leader, law enforcement officers have carte blanche to act as judge and jury on the streets, before someone is convicted of a crime. As a mom, the thought any of our sons becoming a victim of mistaken identity based on “fitting the description” of a suspect, then being roughed up by police with a direct endorsement from the President is a very scary proposition.

        On July 28, President Donald Trump addressed an audience of law enforcement officers in Suffolk County, NY. I responded with this open letter on behalf of MOBB United for Social Change (MUSC). I’m still waiting to hear back from him.

  • published The Root in Founder's Corner 2023-12-02 09:19:49 -0600

    The Root

    By Depelsha McGruder

         Except it’s not irrational when you consider that one year later, the cases that initially triggered my MOBB=disorder symptoms—the graphic police killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., and Philando Castile in St. Anthony, Minn.—both ended with no one being held accountable for their deaths. The Justice Department declined to charge Blane Salamoni, the officer who killed Sterling, and a jury found Jeronimo Yanez, the officer who killed Castile with his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter in the car, not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing.

         In addition, since last year, the list of unarmed black males killed in deadly encounters with law enforcement has grown. Terence Crutcher, Paul O’Neal, Kajuan Raye, Tyre King, Alfred Olango, Reginald Thomas and, most recently, three unarmed 15-year-olds—Jordan Edwards, Jayson Negron and Darius Smith—have all been killed since last July.

         And it’s not just the cases that lead to death that trigger our fear and worry. Black males face daily misperceptions and harassment, which increases the likelihood of them one day having an unwarranted deadly encounter.

         Just ask Michael McGill, a high-level professional who was traveling internationally for work when he was suddenly stopped outside the Kansas City, Mo., airport by an officer and told to freeze and put his hands against the wall. Or the five innocent, unarmed 12- to 14-year-olds in Grand Rapids, Mich., who, while walking home from playing basketball in their neighborhood, were unexpectedly stopped and held at gunpoint for more than 10 minutes because police officers believed that they “fit the description” of suspects. Or Charles Kinsey, a therapist for an autistic patient in North Miami, Fla., who, while trying to help his patient, was assumed to be a suspect and shot by police instead. Or the multiple black men who have called police to report a robbery or threat to their home, only to be shot themselves once police arrived. Although they all made it out alive, the trauma from those experiences will live with them and their families indefinitely.

         Yet in the backdrop of all of this ugliness and collective stress, I’ve had one of the most amazing and unexpected experiences of my life. To try to deal with the trauma from seeing graphic images of brutality and death repeatedly, one year ago today (July 7, 2016), I started a Facebook group for moms of black boys and men—initially sending it to about 30 friends—that grew to more than 21,000 moms from all around the country the same day. I really had no idea what would happen after that.

         I could not have imagined then that one year later, the group would have grown to more than 177,000 moms from around the country and world, and evolved into two nonprofit organizations that are completely fueled and run by volunteers made up of the dynamic women I met on Facebook last summer.

         Moms of Black Boys United Inc. provides vital information and support to moms of black sons and promotes positive images of black boys and men. MOBB United for Social Change, Inc., our advocacy arm, aims to influence policy that impacts how black boys and men are treated and perceived by law enforcement and in society as whole. We’ve developed a multi-pronged approach that includes influencing policy, changing perception, demonstrating our political and economic power, promoting self-care, and partnering strategically with other organizations who are working to solve these problems for black males as well as for others who face similar injustices.

         MOBB United has mobilized and empowered moms of black sons all around the country and world to stand up and take action. We’ve hosted virtual seminars with experts on topics like “Know Your Rights” and “How to Interact With Law Enforcement” to “Recognizing and Preventing Bullying” and “Discussing Racial Tensions in Schools.” We’ve provided support in various forms to moms who’ve since lost their sons in deadly encounters with law enforcement. We’ve lobbied for policy change at state capitols, in commission meetings and via phone, letter-writing, email and social media campaigns. These moms are fired up and committed to doing all we can to protect our sons. We don’t want anyone else to experience the pain and devastation that the women known as the “Mothers of the Movement” have experienced.

         We don’t call ourselves activists. We are advocates for our sons who are simply doing what every parent is supposed to do: nurture and protect our children. But when you’re a mom of a black boy, that requires you to know and do some extra stuff.

         It requires you to know that black boys are more likely to be disciplined in schools for the same behaviors that other children display but are not punished for. It requires you to know that they are less likely to be referred to gifted and talented programs, even when they meet the criteria, and are more likely to be referred to special education. It requires you to know that there is a prison bed on hold for them if they don’t know how to read by the third grade. It requires you to know that there is a trap set for them called the school-to-prison pipeline that is highly profitable, and that states often sign contracts with private prisons that guarantee 90 percent occupancy. It requires you to know that black males are three times more likely to be killed by police than other citizens.

         MOBB United is equipping moms with information that empowers them to be better advocates for their sons in all the institutions that interact with and influence them. You see, the problem is that our sons always “fit the description” and are assumed to be the aggressor. They are viewed and treated like wild, irrational animals. Not a person with hopes and dreams. Not someone who loves others and is loved. Not someone’s father, husband, brother, uncle or nephew. Not someone’s beloved son.

         MOBB United aims to change this perception. We are committed to doing all we can to raise our sons to be respectful, kind, productive and, when appropriate, yes, compliant. We are committed to providing them access to a wide variety of educational experiences and enrichment opportunities to give them the best-possible chance at success in life. We are committed to building strong families and creating support systems. We are committed to being engaged parents in our sons’ schools, and involved citizens in our communities and local, state and federal governments.

         But when we do all of that, we need assurance that the system works for us, too. We need to have confidence that our sons will be treated equally under the law. We demand accountability on the other side. And when rogue or unqualified officers unjustly kill one of our sons, we need to see a conviction, not excuses about how the officers “feared for their lives” from someone who posed no obvious threat. We want all of our sons and all law-enforcement officers to make it home safely every night.

         Our work is clearly a marathon, not a sprint. But these women have helped me to move from fear to fortitude. Now, instead of being balled up in a knot in tears on my bed, I stand in a global circle of moms who I know understand my perspective, have my back and are committed to working together to find solutions. We will not give up. We will not accept this as normal and just the way it is. And united, we will change the narrative and ensure that our sons survive, thrive and build strong legacies.

    The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff. (Re-posted from The Root's publication)


    Depelsha McGruder is a happily married mom of two boys and an entertainment executive living in Brooklyn, N.Y. She is a graduate of Howard University and Harvard Business School. 

  • published The Founder's Corner in Founder's Corner 2023-12-02 07:15:41 -0600

    The Founder's Corner

     

    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

     

  • published National Vision Board Day in Founder's Corner 2023-12-02 07:09:20 -0600

    National Vision Board Day

    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

  • Virtual Vision Board Party for Moms & Sons

    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

  • published Justice for KaJuan Raye in Founder's Corner 2023-12-02 07:04:43 -0600

    Justice for KaJuan Raye

    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

  • Virtual Viewing Party for 13th Documentary

    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.

    20161128_120704_10988.jpg

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

    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