By Aimee Wilson and Carla Canty-Byrd
Organize, Mobilize, and Demand Change: Outraged Moms of Black Boys Rapid Response and Call Center are Ready for Action
We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors, moms who were on the frontlines of past Civil Rights movements and moms who resisted the status quo. We organize in the spirit of our righteous mentor, Fannie Lou Hamer, who infamously stated, "I am tired of being sick and tired.” We activate the principles of MOBB United for Social Change, Inc. (MUSC), which include showing our power and creating strategic partnerships. And we mobilize to stand in the gap for our sons, fighting the injustices of police brutality, and lack of accountability, fighting for justice for the lost lives and lost potential of our Black boys and men and their traumatized families and communities.
When excessive use of force incidents occur involving Black boys and men within the continental United States, a team of dedicated advocacy volunteers takes a series of actions and responds strategically to those incidents. Those volunteers are members of our Rapid Response team. Other incidents assessed for our organizational response may include excessive imprisonment or alleged mistreatment while incarcerated and school-related incidents of bullying, racism, and suspension/expulsion.
As MUSC expanded during our young organizational life, we knew that advocating for our sons was critical for justice in our country. Operating from within the Policy and Advocacy Committee, the Rapid Response team examines and methodically analyzes if, how, and/or when our organization will add our unique voice to the ongoing conversation of police violence and social justice. In partnership with our organization's Communications Committee, we let our community and supporters know when it is time to take action.
An important element of our organizational response is our Call Center, comprised of moms who have volunteered to contact key local leaders regarding identified incidents and demand responses to our calls to action. These volunteers, who are affectionately called "Gladiators" take a few minutes out of their day to call, email, and/or post on social media to share our expectations around an incident. All volunteers are given instructions on who to call, what to say, and how to say it. We operate as a united force. The power of our efforts comes in our numbers and our consistency.
After making an initial Call-to-Action for Euclid, Ohio’s Police Department, new developments occurred with a local activist being beaten by that Police Department. With the updated Call-to-Action, MUSC escalated our request to direct our advocacy not only to Euclid’s Mayor and Police Chief, but also to local state legislators and the Governor. One of the state legislators is open to learn more about our concerns with that Police Department and is willing to meet with local MUSC members on this matter.
When an incident is over, some organizations move onto the next cause. Our Rapid Response team conducts a series of check-ins to determine if any new developments might affect our organizational response and/or if the families involved need help connecting to resources. During each phase of Rapid Response, our team seeks partners from our MUSC community and other social justice organizations to build strategic partnerships. These growing partnerships may include local social justice organizations and/or local chapters of national organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Black Lives Matter (BLM), or National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapters, to name a few.
Did you know that police departments and city leaders bank on average citizens moving on after a short while? This leaves them free to do as they please. We cannot let this continue. That is why the Rapid Response team is here: to call out injustice, pressure key leaders, and make a lasting change!
The Rapid Response team, including our Call Center volunteers, are members of the MUSC Policy and Advocacy Committee. The Rapid Response Team is welcoming new team members and would like to continue to grow with new researchers, writers, and Call Center volunteers.
If you are "tired of being sick and tired", if another incident of police violence makes you want to holla, and if you are ready to move from talk to action, the Rapid Response team needs you. You can work as a dedicated advocacy volunteer on the Rapid Response Team and stand on the frontlines of justice in our Call Center. You also can just jump in from time to time with our published MUSC calls to action. To volunteer, please complete the volunteer form and specify that you're interested in the Rapid Response team.
To report a possible incident for Rapid Response, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with available details of the excessive use of force or school-related racism, discrimination, or bullying incident.
Moms of Black Boys United, Inc., the 501c3 sister organization if MOBB United for Social Change (MUSC), needs financial resources to do the important work required to protect or sons. Please consider donating to Moms of Black Boys United, Inc. this month at mobbunited.org/donate. Also, please learn more about fundraising plans and what else you can do to help.