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.
For the second year, Moms of Black Boys United, Inc. was out and about with our sons on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service and Remembrance, January 15th. The goal was to give back to those in need while honoring Dr. King’s legacy, and changing negative perceptions of our Black boys and men. Please enjoy these pictures of MOBB United moms and their sons doing what matters.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.~
Lisa Spriggs: “Monday January 15, 2018 is the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Holiday, which for some means a "Day Off" from school or work but for many others it is a "DAY ON" for service. We are here to change the perception of our young boys and men and want the world to see them doing great things! What do you have planned for the weekend and/or Monday? Share your plans and see if other MOBBs in the area will join you! Tag a friend!” Points of Light
Peggy Bruns: “In keeping with the vision of Martin Luther King Jr. we served at the City of Arlington Mission, where we unloaded, unboxed, sorted, reboxed and reloaded a truck of toys for their Christmas Store. Thanks for coming out Rhonda Tharpe, Kim Stockman, and Tiffanie Tinsley! ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?’ ‘Everybody can be great as anybody can serve!’ MLK Jr.” (Dallas/Fort Worth MLK Day of Service)
Kimberley Alexander: “Today I visited the Lorraine Motel. Now a museum, it is the place where Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered. I was there for 4+ hours reading, touching, talking and witnessing the evolution of the Black struggle. If there were one sentence I could use to summarize my thoughts: FIND YOUR PURPOSE! Each of us owes it for every sacrifice, for every martyr, for every scar, for every right we have obtained on the backs of those who set aside fear and stood tall when death was almost certain. In 2018, we owe it to our SUNS! Join us on the frontline...www.mobbunited.org. Remember the dream!”
Happy February, beauties! The Education and Engagement Committee has started reading another book, Between The World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. We have had three posts so far this month. If you haven’t already, hopefully you will begin reading the book with us and join in the discussion on Facebook by searching #mobbunitedbookclub on your MOBB United Facebook group search bar.
We will also be holding another Facebook Live reading that will take place on February 25th at 7pm with the author of Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, by Javaka Steptoe. Jean-Michel Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocketed to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art world had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games, in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe’s vivid text and bold artwork that echoes Basquiat’s own, introduce young readers to the powerful message that art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean—and definitely not inside the lines—to be beautiful. We will have giveaways for the first ladies who log on to the live reading that evening. This will be the second Facebook Live reading; our first live reading was in December from Derrick Barnes, the author of Crown.
Between The World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
*The following posts were shared originally in the Moms of Black Boys United, Inc. private Facebook group, and Education and Engagement Committee Lead Kumari Ghafoor-Davis gave us permission to share it publicly. If you are a mom of a Black son and member of that group, you can read and/or respond in the comments by clicking the linked dates.
January 6, 2017
“Happy New Year, Beauties! It's that time again for another book club read!!
We are so excited about our choice for the next MOBB United book club read, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. We will begin reading on January 8th and will post our first question about the book on January 15th.
Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of The Beautiful Struggle, Between the World and Me, and the new book We Were Eight Years in Power.
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation's history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of "race," a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion.
Between the World and Me is Coates' attempt to address these questions and concerns in a letter to his adolescent son.
Coates has been hailed by Toni Morrison as "required reading”, a bold and personal literary exploration of America's racial history by "the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States" (The New York Observer).
Order your copy of Between the World and Me today, so we can start discussing this awesome book together.
Thank you ladies.
MOBB United Book Club”
January 23, 2017
“Welcome to the second post for our current #mobbunitedbookclub choice, Between the World and Me, by TaNehisi Coates. One question that comes up for me as I read is, if so many people feel that the reality of race is a natural fact and inevitably leads to racism, how can we begin to heal this misconception within our own communities where we also have racism and hatred among and for ourselves? Please share your thoughts and your own questions with us in comments below.”
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.
Summer is the time for Woke Mom meetups! We are continuing to criss-cross the country, from Charlotte to Chicago and the Bronx to Baton Rouge. In Baton Rouge, the first one was so nice, they are doing it twice! Meetups are a great opportunity to meet the moms we’ve come to know and love online, focus our energies and our mission, and reinvigorate ourselves for the work ahead of protecting our boys. Below are some highlights from the hostesses of meetups held recently. If you'd like to host or attend a Woke Mom Meetup, learn more here.
Hostess Mercedes Brazier -- "If Langston was here, he would have wanted this."
"And so begins the launch of the MOBB United for Social Change Harlem Chapter inside the Historic Langston Hughes House in Harlem. The owner of the home checked in and shared a brief history as 9 Harlem moms gathered, snacked and shared pieces of our hearts. We were brought together on a common ground. We discussed our shared journey, our sons of various ages, and why we were there.
The founder of MOBB United, Depelsha Thomas McGruder, attended and shared why she created the organization and how/why we should get involved. We all would like to meet again...I appreciated this meeting because so much of it was already planned out -- an agenda and a PowerPoint (presentation).”
Hostess Durice Galloway -- “I'm very excited (Durice) about the Woke Mom meet up for the Triad and Triangle. We had eight people register initially, and seven that attended the meeting! With that great yield, we were able to have all the non-members financially commit to joining the organization as financial members, which is a big win. All the members also agreed that an area chapter is warranted, and they thought it would be supported. We will have a followup in the next month or two, either September or October, to come back to the table.
We talked about future events, such as a walk in partnership with law enforcement agencies, and moms, and supporters to help share the story of our black community with law enforcement to change the narrative of our Black men and boys that law enforcement has seems to have. We talked about doing telethons and/or radiothons to drive membership.
In the beginning of the meetup, we started just sharing some of our stories and parenting advice and just how nice it is, like a breath of fresh air, to be surrounded by Black moms who understand what we're all going through. Various ages and stages were present. We had new moms, and then we had moms who had kids and now are grandmoms who have kids back in their lives.
I'm leaving feeling very motivated very excited, and I'm just even more passionate about the causes. We had special leadership guests Tiffany Bargeman and Crys Baldwin with their excellent experience with MOBB United that I think really helped convince our attendees to become members, and I'm excited.”
Hostess Tammy Greer Brown -- "On Sunday, July 30, 2017, approximately 15 people gathered at the Everything Goes Book Café for the first ever MOBB United Staten Island Meet and Greet. Known for its relaxed and inviting atmosphere, ETG Book Café is located on the North Shore of Staten Island minutes away from the Staten Island Ferry. It is also next to the very spot where Eric Garner took his last breath.
As mothers, aunts, and visitors listened intensely to Depelsha McGruder give a fantastic overview of the organization, many were touched by the shared stories of our fears and optimism for our young boys. Inspired by the mission and vision of MOBB United for Social Change, moms volunteered to pass out postcards at family reunions and sign up as members. Ronald Gregg, Esq. who attended the event, a former police officer and judge, pledged his services to the organization as well.
It is our goal to meet again in the Fall and bring in more mothers who share our mission and vision to protect our sons on Staten Island. We ended the meeting with a picture in front of the shrine created in memory of Eric Garner. It was forever a day we will always remember."
Hostess Rev. Dr. Deborah Jenkins with Tammy Greer Brown
Jenkins: “I hosted this first meetup at Faith at Work Christian Church, 120 Dekruif Place Bronx, NY 10475. All attendees were impressed with the presentation. Though few in number, each seemed committed to recruiting other moms and trying to grow a chapter. Subsequent to the meeting, I received several inquiries and apologies from moms who couldn't attend. One mom volunteered to organize a Northeast Bronx chapter here in Co-Op City; her name is Janine Thomas. The church is available for all future meetings, and I am eager to be a part of its growth."
Brown: “A small and intimate group of women met in the sanctuary of Faith at Work Church in the heart of Co-Op City in the Bronx. Invited by Pastor Deborah Jenkins, this famous residential area has a population of nearly 45,000, of which families, children and the church grows daily.
With a population of nearly 90K people who are of African and Latino descent, activism is interwoven into the very fabric of this church. Because they have a separate and thriving community apart from the rest of the Bronx, Co-Op City pays for its own NYPD security, thus their relationship is very different than in other parts in the Bronx. The police officers pretty much know the young children by name and work very closely with the tenant association to strengthen community relations. However, the church and its members have name recognition and extend their outreach beyond the borders of Co-Op City."
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.