Quarterly or monthly local chapter meetings / recruitment outings; MOBB United connections; MOBB United Business Directory; special interest groups (e.g., special needs); driven by Chapter Development and Health and Wellness committees with support from Education and Engagement and Eco Dev committees for the directories; quarterly or monthly local chapter meetings/recruitment outings.
Chapter Development began just a few days after the Moms of Black Boys United, Inc. group was formed on Facebook. With a vast number of moms joining the private group and wanting to connect, we began to create state files so that moms in the same area could connect locally. This was an awesome idea, as many members began meeting all over the United States. We had moms getting together and bonding in New Rochelle and Staten Island, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Washington DC (DMV Area); Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, TX; Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles and San Diego, CA; and other cities. They were passionately discussing ways to protect our Black sons. More than 30 meetups were held across the country over this past summer. This was the unofficial beginning of our “Heels on the Ground” chapter development throughout the country..
Since then our group has grown exponentially and MOBB United for Social Change has moved off of Facebook to our own domain at www.mobbunited.org.
Currently, we have moms who are ambassadors of MOBB United. We appreciate their volunteerism and could not do what we do without them. Our ambassadors have taken the initiative to host and hold events in their areas. Some of those events include, but are not limited to:
Meet and greet events (meetups)
MOBB United anniversary events
Pink Postcard parties
Organizing and/or participating in MLK Day Mother and Son National Day of Service projects
Registering voters during the Rock the Vote campaign
Representing MOBB United at government functions like the Congressional Black Caucus and local Lobby Days
Some of our ambassadors have been with us from the very beginning, while others joined us more recently. For ambassadors who were new to the group and wanted to host an event, the tools were at their disposal to make their event successful. The resources provided included presentations, recordings, fliers, pink postcards, one-on-one conversations, and social media branding. After these events, we welcome all feedback from our members via testimonies and/or online surveys.
At this time, all of our local chapters fall under the national umbrella of MOBB United. Each chapter should have a city leader, and Chapter Development is seeking individuals who are ready to take their city to another level. This mom will be the main contact locally to bring issues and/or concerns to the national level and vice versa. We expect the city leaders to attend the monthly Saturday national status and update calls so as to be able to disseminate information consistently to other members.
We are accepting applications online for city leaders. The requirements for being a city leader include but are not limited to:
Hosting a minimum of four meetings per year (preferably monthly or bi-monthly) to include the following:
Mother and Son MLK Day of Service event (January)
MOBB United Anniversary event to commemorate our founding (July)
Advocacy Event (timing TBD)
Recruiting additional members
Participating in Chapter Orientation
The application process is open until the end of December, and leadership expects to make selections in January 2018, as well as provide Chapter orientation.
Please follow us to see the latest timeline in Chapter Development.
In 2011, I moved my money out of a big bank and into a small credit union, one that serves the community of color in which I work. I did this on Bank Transfer Day, launched that November 5th by a woman in California who was annoyed by newly imposed ATM fees. Bank Transfer Day coincided conveniently with the Occupy Wall Street movement, and I made the switch right around the time I was volunteering at Occupy’s encampment in lower Manhattan. It was a heady time of protest in New York City and around the country, which was still reeling in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. At least temporarily, our collective consciousness was raised as we were awakened to the nature of capitalism and its inevitable concentration of wealth in the hands of the 1% at the expense of the other 99%. That was enough reason for me to get out of the big banks.
Conceived initially as a Million Man March on Wall Street, because White people—I am one—are always ready to co-opt a good idea, Occupy was largely a White movement addressing White concerns (although one of its heroes was a Black Iraq war veteran, Sergeant Shamar Thomas). Flash forward 5 or 6 years, and the country moved from awakening toward woke, as the Black Lives Matter movement erupted, reminding us to transfer out of the big banks and into the Black banks, because hey, capitalism may be a disaster but right now, it’s the only game in town, and you have to pay to play.
For reasons of convenience, at that point my teenage children had their accounts at one of the big banks, one of the many that finances private prisons, and therefore mass incarceration, but my laziness regarding moving their money prevailed for awhile. That is, it prevailed until MOBB United’s Economic Development team, then chaired by Munirah Small, initiated its #MOBBUMoneyJar project, encouraging us to collect our household change into a jar and empower our sons and their communities by bringing them to a Black-owned bank to open an account.
Well, first, we had to find a Black-owned bank and unfortunately, I learned that there are none in Manhattan! The closest thing to Black-owned is the majority Black-operated bank, Carver Federal Savings Bank, in Harlem, which is where MOBB United maintains its bank account! My kids and I did a little more research and decided to go with an online bank.
If you are thinking about moving your money to a Black-owned bank but are reluctant to make the switch because of the onerousness of the task, I can promise you this—your experience won’t be as challenging as mine was. My kids wouldn’t do it without me, so we had to find time to sit down together and figure it all out. That was hard enough, but it ended up taking multiple meetings, emails, and phone calls to make it happen. Also, we made the classic mistake of closing the current accounts before we opened the new ones, which meant that things like direct deposit from their college employment and depositing those birthday gift checks from Nana were problematic, not to mention that they had no ATM access to cash and no debit cards during the transition. But what’s worse is that someone—maybe one of us or maybe someone at the bank—made the mistake of reversing my twins’ Social Security numbers. Those of us who have twins know that their Social Security numbers are the same but for the last number of each, and those two numbers are consecutive. It’s a sweet reminder of the proximity of their entries into the world and the fact that while they have much in common, they are still two distinctly different individuals. In this case, it resulted in both of their accounts being frozen until we could straighten it out and prove who was who. Like I said, I promise it will be easier for you.
It’s the holiday season, and what better way to give back than to buy Black? Let’s invest in our sons by investing in their communities. Black buying power can have tremendous influence not only on our sons’ ability to thrive economically; it also signals political power. Advertisers, marketers, corporations, charitable organizations, and politicians depend upon and monitor revenue streams, and they listen to our issues and needs when we buy Black. Money matters. Money talks. Let yours shout from the rooftops this December. Here are a few ideas for you:
MOBB United! Who doesn’t need a Woke Mom T-shirt – or a Woke Auntie, Woke Grandma, Woke Dad T- shirt? And what about an I Am Your Future onesie for your baby? Buying your gifts from the MOBB United store invests directly in our sons by empowering MOBB to empower them.
Fresh from our National Call on December 2, 2017, with Katie Ishizuka-Stephens and Ramon Stephens, is a curated list of books for children up to 18 years old from The Conscious Kid Library, because “Black Books Matter.” The books have Black characters and heroes and are written by Black authors you will be supporting. You can also join https://www.theconsciouskid.org and have books delivered monthly for a nominal fee.
For online one-stop shopping, check out https://www.buyblackmovement.com/About/. From their website: “TAG TEAM Marketing International, Inc. operates the powerful Buy Black Movement program. We are a Black-owned and operated company that specializes in marketing and distributing the products and services of Black-owned businesses to Black consumers.” They have gifts in every category you can think of, from clothing and cosmetics to dolls and DVDs.
Woke Mom Summer meetups were hot throughout August and September! Hostesses Shantia Coley and Sandra Kearns showed up and showed out in Charlotte and San Antonio on the same day, while Natasha Marie and Danni Jo took on upstate New York with a Woke Mom Meetup in Rochester. And Washington, D.C. held a meetup as well, in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and with Founder, Depelsha McGruder, in attendance. What a dynamic energy we are building here at MOBB United, galvanizing ourselves for our mission of protecting our sons; creating and providing community for a common cause.
Please enjoy some highlights below, and if you'd like to host or attend a Woke Mom Meetup, learn more here.
Motherhood is my ministry, and I will protect my brown sons at all costs. We had eight dynamic women in attendance for the Charlotte Woke Mom Meetup on August 19 at my home. Those in attendance were concerned moms, siblings and even godparents of our brown men. The meeting kicked off with snacks as the women mingled and met each other while jazz played in the background. No icebreakers were necessary, as the group instantly hit it off.
A history of Moms of Black Boys United was shared, and many were shocked at how much work has been done in such a short amount of time. The women shared personal stories and accounts of their attachment to the issue, and the group became emotional. To bring spirits up, the group moved from the dining room to the living room, where they watched Moms of Black Boys United videos while Crys Baldwin (who traveled hours to attend the meeting), narrated. The women discussed their ideas for the future of Moms of Black Boys United in the area and pledged to continue to voice their concerns and advocate for our young Black men. As the meeting concluded, the guests toasted to a bright future in Charlotte, NC, where Moms of Black Boys United would have a loud, strong and proud presence.
(No pics available)
Hostess Sandra Kearns
The San Antonio Chapter held our Anniversary celebration on August 19th. We promoted our event as a family gathering; and when you add all of the children and spouses, we had around 20 people in attendance. We had a very casual get together. The children played, and the adults talked. It is a such a blessing to have a group of mothers who understand the unique challenges of parenting Black boys and men. We talked about plans for the future, including movie nights, a book club, and Wine Down sessions.
Moms of Black Boys United and MOBB United for Social Change, Inc. (MUSC) made an appearance at the 2017 Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) September 21-23. Founder Depelsha McGruder attended several sessions on criminal justice reform and Black boys and men, interacting with legislators, professors and organizational leaders. She also co-hosted the 'Taking it to the Screen' Short Film Screening and Panel Discussion on September 21st in partnership with the Social Cinema Project. The panel discussion covered media images, police/community relations, restorative justice and violence in our communities. The event, also a Woke Mom meetup, was held at Busboys and Poets restaurant in D.C. MUSC thanks Ralph Scott of Social Cinema for the great partnership. Depelsha was pleased to meet and introduce to the crowd of more than 90 attendees Congressman Hank Johnson (D - GA) from her home district in GA, and she was excited to meet 15 local D.C. members of MUSC. Check out the press release from the event to learn more about the films and participants.
Rochester is on the Meetup map! Including myself and co-facilitator Danni Jo, we had a total of 17 moms in attendance. Several of them had to bring their sons, so I encouraged them to do just that! Perhaps a few little boys even became friends as they played together during the meeting. I know for a fact that as we gathered, the moms in attendance (some who didn't know one another before), left with at least one new woke mom friend.
Due to issues with the internet, my presentation wouldn't play, so I had to work from the slides in my head! I spoke about how Moms of Black Boys began and how Depelsha was shocked from the overwhelming response to the Facebook page one year ago. I explained that we are now a 501c3 organization with Chapters nationwide. I spoke about Moms of Black Boys United’s five-point platform and then discussed the cost and benefits of membership, as well as the ways Moms of Black Boys United can impact change.
I connected (ironically just days before) with a young man named Antonio Coleman who was in prison for 15 years but released in September! When I asked if he would give a first hand perspective of his experience with the criminal justice system, he was thrilled. He made for the perfect speaker and stressed to us as moms the importance of positive friends and role models for our boys. He wants to write a book and plans to start mentoring young men.
Tracey Miller, the Assistant to our Mayor, Lovely Warren, was also in attendance! After listening to Antonio speak, she asked to address the group. Tracey was SO excited to see this gathering. She was impressed by the turnout and shared her contact info with everyone. She encouraged Antonio to contact her for work, if needed, and even offered herself as a resource for Moms of Black Boys United, willing to give us tips on key town meetings where she'd love to see us show up as a group. Then, without knowing anything about Moms of Black Boys United, she gave us three target areas of need for our City. We then broke into small groups to discuss specific solutions for 20 minutes and came back to share feedback.
Rochester is ready to do the WORK and make some noise. The moms who showed up to our Woke Mom Meetup want to change statistics! We are determined to have fun with one another and socialize with our boys. But we are also ready for social change by impacting legislation.
Looking forward to our next gathering!
The Woke Mom meetups are the stepping stones to organized chapters that can accomplish the work necessary to protect our sons. This work must be funded. 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.
Moms of Black Boys United - Ensuring that our SUNs Survive and Thrive
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.