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.
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."
From Brooklyn to Baton Rouge; from Atlanta to Minnesota; from Philly to LA; MOBB United moms are stepping out! We are stepping out of the virtual world, that is, and meeting up in person in cities across the country. Amidst selfies and swag and speeches – and lots of hugs – we are getting to know each other and our mission up close and personal, affirming the already powerful connections we have made through our phones and laptops. While our community is made ever more powerful by 21st century communications, in the words of Marvin Gaye, “Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing!”
So get yourself to a meetup. Step out of the computer screen and then step back in by appearing in photos like these.
Below are some highlights from the hostesses of woke mom meetups held recently. If you'd like to host or attend a Woke Mom Meetup, learn more here.
As one of the first Woke Mom meetups, Philadelphia moms of black boys got down to business -- that is, the business of connecting with each other, learning more about MOBB United for Social Change, Inc., (MUSC), and beginning the process for our local social change agenda. Four moms, three in person and one on the phone, separately identified our school systems in the Greater Philadelphia area as problematic and in need for reform. This aligns with MUSC's focus on the school-to-prison pipeline. Other major concerns for our local area generally are voter education and criminal / juvenile justice.
Since we began the process to organize and strategize, our Philadelphia moms intend to keep the momentum going by scheduling our next meet-up for Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 11 AM, location TBD. Three of our boys who attended also had a chance to meet and network with each other. We look forward to building from our first meetup and becoming a recognizable group of changemakers.
Moms of Black Boys United, Inc. partnered with Progressive Social Network of Baton Rouge, Love Alive Church and BREC to host a viewing of the PBS documentary THE TALK-Race in America.The viewing was followed by a panel discussion on institutional racism and a brief Woke Mom Meet and Greet to allow participants to sign up to get involved with organizations committed to dismantling institutional racism.
The event was open to the general public and attracted a racially diverse audience to raise awareness about institutional racism and to discuss ways in which institutional racism can be identified, dismantled, and how disparities in policing can be eliminated.
Baton Rouge mom Davondra Brown did an amazing job serving as one of the panelists. Local moms “showed up and showed out” to help execute the event.
There were approximately 130 people in attendance, including the general public and partner organizations. There has been a tremendous amount of positive feedback about the event.
Missed it? View the documentary followed by the panel discussion by clicking the links below.
Just a few Saturdays ago, 22 MOBBs and eight children convened at the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation to fellowship and share their concerns and hopes for our sons. I began the meeting began with a welcome, followed by each mom in attendance sharing her personal reasons for being there. These moving revelations set the stage for a great discussion and led to the generation of multiple ideas on potential areas of focus for the group.
I gave an overview presentation of the organization before moms and sons enjoyed food, drinks and a special MOBB United anniversary celebration cake donated by NY MOBB Raychelle Copeland. Photographer Margot Jordan captured moments from this historic event.
The Woke Mom resources/materials were AMAZING. We had five moms in total at a very informal gathering outside with our sons, but we all gathered around a laptop and one of us gave the presentation. We can't express enough our gratitude for the calls leading up to the event and the materials provided to us. We shared about the background of MOBB United, its mission, and goals.
Thank you to all the moms who made the materials and organized the calls for the [MOBB Anniversary] events. Two of us were already registered with MOBB United, and we encouraged the three others to join and spread the word about this wonderful organization!
Annisa Cooke Batista and I had our meetup at Central Park Restaurant in Roselle, NJ. Eight moms attended, and we had such a great time. Many of the moms have adult children, a few have sons who are incarcerated, and many of us have children under 18.
Many of the moms asked for more in-person meetings, including workshop sessions on how to have tough conversations with our boys. They wrote down a few of their ideas on index cards. We had a deep discussion on our concerns as moms as we went through the presentation on MOBB’s history, committees, and goals.
We distributed MOBB United Woke Mom post cards and How to Get Home Alive magnets.
To commemorate our 1-year anniversary, 35 Atlanta MOBBs and supporters came together for a private pre-screening of the movie “Girl's Trip” at the Regal Cinemas at Perimeter Pointe. I hosted alongside A'Donna Garrett (no relation), giving a presentation to the audience about our organization. MOBBs and supporters were eager to brainstorm ideas for issues we would prioritize. Although we did not yet set our next meeting date, we did promise to compile all of the information received and follow up with next steps. MOBBs were treated to a swag bag with cotton candy and materials they could use to help support us in our mission to protect our black boys. After the meeting, we all enjoyed the movie. All in all, this was a very successful event.
San Diego’s Woke Mom Meet-up in honor of MOBB United's 1st anniversary was totally enlightening and uplifting. There were five participants, three children, and our educator present. It was uplifting fellowshipping with one another. We discussed our sons’ struggles and accomplishments as we broke bread.
In between races to and from the bathroom and football games with the little ones, we conducted a Know Your Rights teach-in, which brought forth much more than we bargained for. Of course, we learned the very basics of how to conduct ourselves during an interaction with law enforcement, but the other thing that was learned was that there is a huge need in San Diego’s Black and Brown communities for this type of teach-in due to the staggering amount of racial profiling and unwarranted arrests that take place every single day.
We all agreed that there may be some opportunity in the near future for MOBB United’s San Diego Chapter to bridge a huge gap by conducting a Know Your Rights teach-in with other community service organizations and inviting Black and Brown men and boys of all ages and socio-economic statuses.
Moms in Houston gathered for brunch to celebrate MOBB United's 1st anniversary. The event was hosted in downtown Houston at the Circuit Entertainment Lounge by Alycia Grace, Kimberley Alexander, and Amber Williams, Houston's new chapter lead. The 15 women in attendance discussed the purpose of the organization, what has been accomplished over the past year, and next steps, including the further development of the Houston chapter.
The moms were excited about the opportunity to join the organization and to take the lead in MOBB United’s efforts in Houston. There was music, food, fun, prizes, and great conversation. The Houston meetup was a huge success, and all the moms are excited to meet again soon.
A total of 16 people turned out for this event held at a Frisco Spray Park. There were 7 local MOBBs, a visiting MOBB from Detroit, 6 sons and 2 additional family members.
Although it was hot, we enjoyed connecting, sharing statuses with one another, sharing a little food, talking about both our international as well as local participation in our first year, and celebrating our black sons! We've identified some items we'd like to work on locally and have set a tentative next meet for September 17, 3 pm, in The Colony. Thanks for everyone's participation and assistance!
Expand the panels below to enjoy the pictures from the meetups.
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.