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Policy and Advocacy Committee Progress

Posted By Tiffany A. Bargeman, Friday, April 20, 2018
Updated: Sunday, March 25, 2018

By Delicia Hand and Frankie Robertson

MUSC Policy and Advocacy Committee Progress, Delicia Hand & Frankie Robertson      The MOBB United for Social Change, Inc. (MUSC) Policy and Advocacy Committee sets the strategic policy priorities and drives advocacy initiatives for the organization. As a committee, we set and lead execution of MUSC’s policy agenda, research policies that impact Black men and boys, identify opportunities to advocate on behalf of our sons, and guide MUSC’s approach and responses to instances where Black men and boys have been victims of unjustified force and violence by police.

Legislative Platform Launched
     The Policy and Advocacy Committee finalized and recently launched a new advocacy resource, the organization’s Legislative Policy Platform. The Legislative Platform outlines MOBB United for Social Change’s policy priorities and equips members to be informed about our policy priorities when they engage with partners and policy makers across the country. Think of the platform as your quick reference fact sheet that you can use to quickly outline the concrete policy changes we seek. Since it has been launched, MOBB United moms have used the platform to engage with their state representatives and advocate on key criminal justice reform issues. In March, moms in Louisiana and New Jersey have used the platform in meetings with their representatives.  Additionally, leading up to the close of the state legislative session on April 9th, Maryland moms relied on the platform as they weighed in with their representatives on key initiatives. Policy moms in California may soon use the platform to engage with their representatives. Check out our new resource here: http://www.mobbunited.org/page/MUSCPlatform.

What’s happening in your state?
     If you’re not familiar with the state legislative process or state legislative advocacy, here’s a quick overview. State legislatures operate on varying schedules and time periods within a year.  Some states have part time legislators, others have full time legislators; each correlated with whether the state has a year-long legislative session or part-year legislative session. For example, California, New York and Pennsylvania have full-time legislatures; Alaska, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin have limited full-time legislatures. Other states have legislative sessions which are only in session for a few months of the year. For these states—Maryland, North Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia, for example—typically the beginning of the calendar year, January through March, marks a very fast paced sprint to engage with a policymaker and have an impact on the process.  

     Over the past few months, Policy and Advocacy Committee members have been monitoring activities in various states across the country. In the spring, state legislatures typically start to introduce measures which go through the process of introduction, committee assignment, committee hearing, consideration by the main body, and, assuming passage, then signature by the state executive. When MOBB United engages on legislative policy issues at the state level, it can be during any of these stages. Sometimes when a measure is introduced, we reach out to state legislators and try to encourage them to sign on. In advance of a committee hearing, we urge members to attend to learn about a measure.  Once a measure is adopted by the legislature, we often weigh in to try to impact budget negotiations so that the enacted measure is actually funded. Otherwise, we continue to apply pressure to ensure the state executive branch moves to implement the measure.  

     Below is an overview of some of the measures we have been following and advocating on this legislative season. Some of these measures have advanced and become law; others, have not advanced.  All represent initiatives where MOBB United moms reached out to their representatives and weighed in on behalf of our sons. 

  • California
    • SB1437 - [SUPPORT] will reform the felony murder rule and accomplice liability in certain types of second-degree murder. This act would abolish felony murder liability for an accomplice: a person who did not personally commit the homicidal act or intend that a homicide occur. PENDING; April 24, 2018 hearing.
  • Louisiana
    • HB560 - [SUPPORT] Creates the State Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct. PENDING; April 13, 2018hearing.
    • HB709 - [SUPPORT] Creates the State Commission on Prosecutorial Oversight and the Code of Prosecutorial Conduct.
  • Maryland
    • HB1801- [OPPOSE] Requiring each public school to have an armed school resource officer present on school grounds during regular school hours on school days; requiring the Department of State Police to assign a State Police officer to a certain public school under certain circumstances; requiring a certain State Police officer to be present on school grounds during regular school hours on school days and to carry a firearm; and authorizing a private school to have an armed school resource officer present on school grounds. Did not progress this session.
    • HB1173 - [SUPPORT] Requiring a law enforcement agency to report beginning October 1, 2018, and every 2 years thereafter to the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention on policies and procedures related to use of force, de-escalation training for law enforcement officers; requiring the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention to adopt procedures for the collection, analysis, and compilation of use of force de-escalation training information received from a certain law enforcement agency; requiring a certain report; etc. Did not progress this session.
    • HB480/SB484 - [SUPPORT] Repealing a certain requirement that a certain defendant pay a certain fee to a certain private home detention monitoring agency; and providing that a defendant who is subject to pretrial release may not be required to pay for certain services provided or security measures taken by the State, a county, or another entity acting on behalf of the State or a county. Did not progress this session.
  • New Jersey
    • S406 - [SUPPORT] Creates New Jersey Innocence Study and Review Commission.
    • S428 - [SUPPORT] Provides for review of juvenile sentence of more than 30 years imprisonment without parole eligibility under certain circumstances.
  • New York
    • S3579A - [SUPPORT] Bail Elimination Reform Act of 2018 - eliminates money bail, protects the presumption of innocence and the right to freedom, sets strong limits on when and how any pretrial conditions are instituted, and prohibits the use of biased risk assessment tools.

As these measures progress through the respective state legislatures, MOBB United needs pumps on the ground and moms on the front line who are willing to engage on behalf of their sons! We can train moms on how to be able and effective advocates. Join us! If your state is not represented and you are willing to send an email, make a call and take a meeting with a representative, email policy@mobbunited.org.

Electoral Engagement
     The Policy and Advocacy committee will soon shift to educating members about who will appear on their ballots when they go to the polls this fall, and engaging candidates for electoral office so that they are aware of the issues impacting black men and boys. This year across the country, many policy makers, who can affect the standards and measures of accountability for law enforcement when they interact with our sons, will be elected into office. Many MOBB United members will vote for these persons, without any idea or information about how the official feels about important issues that impact our sons. How does your member of Congress feel about structural reforms to criminal justice law such as bail reform, ensuring that juveniles are not unnecessarily charged as adults, teen life sentencing? How does your city council representative or mayor feel about the standards that apply to police officers wearing body cameras? Does your local police chief care that his/her officers are sufficiently trained on issues like implicit bias, de-escalation, and crisis intervention?

     The Policy and Advocacy committee is developing Candidate Questionnaires and will soon shepherd a series of events where members can engage directly with those seeking offices to learn how they feel about these important issues. Specifically, we will be seeking answers from candidates for U.S. Congress, State Attorneys General, local prosecutors or District Attorneys to survey their views on our organizational priorities. We will be seeking answers from the candidates in seats that are up for election this year. We will develop a questionnaire that will be available on our website that you can download and send directly to candidates, to find out their position on issues impacting our sons. If you are interested in helping or participating in this initiative, email: policy@mobbunited.org.

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

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Tags:  Advocacy  advocate  Attorney General  Attorneys  bias  California  Candidate  Committee  Congress  crisis intervention  de-escalation  Delicia  Electoral  Engagement  Frankie  Hand  implicit  implicit bias  law  law enforcement  legislative  lobby  Louisiana  Maryland  MOBB United for Social Change  MUSC  New Jersey  New York  platform  police  Policy  power  progressive  prosecutors  Questionnaires  representative  research  Robertson  session  vote  voting 

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Parkland Reflections

Posted By Tiffany A. Bargeman, Friday, April 20, 2018
Updated: Sunday, April 15, 2018

By C. K. LeDaniel

Parkland     On February 14th of this year, a young man armed with an AR-15 rifle entered his former high school, killed 17 people—mostly students—and injured 15. This was, by no means, the first school shooting we’ve seen; in fact, there have been at least 17 school shootings to date in 2018 alone. In part because of its scale, this one captured the attention of the country, but more so because of the remarkable activism of the surviving students.
 
     In the weeks since we began to see their faces on our televisions and in our Facebook feeds, these students are also becoming increasingly “woke” about the racial issues involved in gun control. To be sure, the predominantly White affluence of the Parkland students has allowed the issue to gain traction and mobilize the country to “March for Our Lives”—the DC march was one of the largest in history. But the Parkland students are not all White. Many are Black and Latina. One of the most recognized among them is the young, queer, Latina woman, Emma Gonzalez. Her Black classmates have seen less airtime on our major news networks. But the visible White students have begun to “check their privilege” and call this out, while Black students, many of whom participated in the National Walkout Day on March 14th, have helped to check them.
 
     In watching the march on television, I found that people of color were far more amplified than they were initially. The remarkable Naomi Wadler, an 11-year-old African American girl, has gone viral with her powerful message, stating she is speaking for those Black girls who are often forgotten. We also saw many young brothers, including Zion Kelly, a resident of D.C., and Christopher Underwood of Brooklyn, who both lost siblings to gun violence. Alex King and D’Angelo McDade from Chicago took the stage with tape over their mouths and their fists in the air.
 
     But what exactly are the racial issues involved in gun control? First, let’s take a quick look at the racist history of the Second Amendment itself, which supported the rights of White people to form militias better known as “slave patrols”, some of which were later known as the Ku Klux Klan. When Black people sought to arm themselves and exercise their constitutional right to self-defense against these groups, it should come as no surprise that legal institutions were able to easily circumvent a “race-neutral” application of the law. In other words, the Second Amendment and gun control have largely only ever been implemented to the disadvantage of people of color. Think back to the Black Panthers exercising their right to “open carry”; the Reagan Administration and local California legislators swiftly imposed restrictions.
 
     Today, we see the racist implementation of the Second Amendment as gun rights activists, mostly White people, have their rights respected and protected despite their overt aggression. One need only recall recent pictures of heavily armed White Supremacists in Charlotte, flanked and unchecked by law enforcement. Meanwhile, a legal gun owner in full compliance with the law, like Philando Castile, cannot reach into his glove compartment without being shot to death in his car while his killer, a police officer, goes free. White people armed with assault weapons and bombs, weapons of war and mass destruction, who are members of known White Supremacist groups, are referred to as “challenged young adults” with mental illnesses or tragic victims of bullying, while unarmed Black people are thugs so frightening that they are gunned down, not only by police officers, but also by “neighborhood watchmen” like George Zimmerman, who took out Trayvon while he walked home with a package of Skittles in his hand.  The “law” allowed Zimmerman to be acquitted.
 
     The March for Our Lives youth and teachers’ unions oppose the “hardening of schools” promoted by Trump and the National Rifle Association (NRA), in which teachers would be trained and armed and more safety officers would be placed in schools. They oppose these for good reasons. It is a cynical attempt to increase gun sales. It will likely lead to more loss of life. A gun will not stop an AR-15. Teachers want to teach, not be armed, and they want funding to support the teaching, not the gun manufacturers. But we moms of MOBB United are keenly aware that the “hardening of schools” will mean the increased loss of Black life, as the armed fear for their lives around dark-skinned children. More safety officers in schools already has meant a dramatic growth in the school-to-prison pipeline as our sons are criminalized at an ever earlier age. This will only grow more, feeding the beast of mass incarceration.
 
     Much was made in the march of the concerns of communities of color regarding the presence and use of guns in their own communities. Fortunately, I did not hear the problem referred to as a so-called “Black on Black” crime issue, a racist construct, at least not from the march speakers and not on the media outlets I frequent. The issue was more appropriately raised as one of racially determined, socio-economic problems heightened by the easy availability of lethal arms. D’Angelo McDade, cited above, said, “I stand before you representing the body of those who have experienced and lost their lives due to gun violence. For we are survivors. For I am a survivor. For we are survivors not only of gun violence, but of silence. For we are survivors of the erratic productions of poverty. But not only that, we are the survivors of unjust policies and practices upheld by our Senate. We are survivors of lack of resources within our schools. We are survivors of social, emotional, and physical harm."
 
     For us moms, the gun violence that breaks our hearts all too often was reflected in the murder of Stephon Clark, a young Black father holding a white cell phone in his own backyard, whose phone struck such terror in two police officers that they shot him 20 times within 3 seconds of seeing him and cuffed his lifeless body on the ground. I was relieved that Stephon Clark was invoked several times at the march, including by Edna Chavez, a young Latina student from South Central Los Angeles. Let us hope that the youth involved in this new movement—many of our sons and daughters among them—will continue to be mindful of race and of intersectionality in all of their activism

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Tags:  activism  Alex King  ar-15  Black  C.K.  Chavez  CK  CK LeDaniel  Clark  D'Angelo McDade  death  Edna  Emma Gonzalez  Fl  Florida  gun violence  intersectionality  kids  March  mass  massacre  murder  Naomi Wadler  national walk out day  Parkland  protest  racism  school-to-prison pipeline  Senate  shooting  silenced  Stephon  youth  Zion Kelly 

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Policy and Advocacy Committee Progress

Posted By Tiffany A. Bargeman, Saturday, February 10, 2018
Updated: Friday, February 9, 2018

By Delicia Hand and Frankie Robertson

MUSC Policy and Advocacy Committee Progress, Delicia Hand & Frankie Robertson     The MOBB United for Social Change, Inc. (MUSC) Policy and Advocacy Committee sets the strategic policy priorities and drives advocacy initiatives for the organization. As a committee, we set and lead execution of MUSC’s policy agenda, research policies that impact Black men and boys, identify opportunities to advocate on behalf of our sons, and guide MUSC’s approach and responses to instances where Black men and boys have been victims of unjustified force and violence by police.

     It’s a new year for MOBB United for Social Change’s Policy and Advocacy committee, and we will soon be rolling out our Legislative Platform. A new resource, the Legislative Platform, will equip members to be informed about our policy priorities when they engage with partners and policy makers across the country. We will launch the roadmap with a training on February 24th, followed by a series of opportunities for members to engage directly with their representatives in March and April. Make sure you sign up for the training by emailing policy@mobbunited.org.
 
     We continue to fight for progressive change and a better world for our Black sons through direct engagement in state legislatures! States all across the country are beginning their legislative sessions. The Policy and Advocacy Committee is monitoring legislation in key states on issues that align with our legislative platform.  Specifically, we are monitoring legislative proposals that touch on:

  • De-escalation training for law enforcement officials
  • Implicit bias and diversity training
  • Police oversight mechanisms such as body camera laws
  • Structural intersections with poverty such as bail reform or teen life sentencing

     This March and April we also will be organizing a series of lobby days, encouraging members across the country to meet with their representatives to talk about these issues and how they impact Black men and boys. 

     To be successful, however, we NEED your help! Below are some ways you can join and support this year's campaign. 

  1. Monitor legislation in your state. This year, we have a one-stop-shop software that allows us to quickly access information about what is happening in each state legislature.  We need people to communicate directly with sponsors of key legislation in their home states and identify opportunities for MUSC to get involved. If you have 30 minutes during the week, this is the job for you!
  2. Sign up to lead a state lobby day. Are you ready to connect with your representatives and let them know about the key issues impacting Black men and boys? Want to learn what is happening in your state? Interested in joining or organizing other moms to advocate for our sons? If so, join or lead a lobby day! When we organize the series of lobby days across the country this March and April, pick a date and join us to make sure your state is represented. Policy and Advocacy Committee members will train you and provide you with the resources to have a successful lobby day. Email policy@mobbunited.org for more information.   

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

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  Advocacy  advocate  bail reform  body camera  Committee  de-escalation  Delicia  force  Frankie  Hand  implicit bias  law  law enforcement  legislative  life sentencing  lobby  lobby day  MOBB United for Social Change  MUSC  pgoressive  platform  police  police oversign  Policy  research  Robertson  state legislature  training  unjustified  Update  violence 

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Facebook Re-Post: Cause

Posted By Tiffany A. Bargeman, Saturday, February 10, 2018
Updated: Sunday, February 11, 2018

By Vanessa McCullers

Facebook Re-Post: Cause

The following posts were shared originally in the Moms of Black Boys United, Inc. private Facebook group: H&M Op-Ed “No Monkeys Here” by Vanessa McCullers Picked up by Blavity and TVOne Screening and Panel with Eric Garner's Mom. Mom Vanessa McCullers, our Communications Committee Lead, gave us permission to share them publicly. If you are a mom of a Black son and member of that group, you can read and/or respond in the comments via the links.

H&M Op Ed by Vanessa McCullers

H&M Op-Ed “No Monkeys Here” by Vanessa McCullers Picked up by Blavity

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TVOne Screening, Vanessa McCullers with Eric Garner's Mom

TVOne Screening and Panel with Eric Garner's Mom

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Tags:  Blavity  Eric Garner  Facebook  H&M  No More Monkeys  OpEd  Op-ed  Re-Post  screening  TVOne  Vanessa McCullers 

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Black Maternal Trauma - Part 4: Paying for Freedom

Posted By Tiffany A. Bargeman, Saturday, February 10, 2018
Updated: Friday, February 9, 2018

By Uchechi Eke

Uchechi Eke     During President Barack Obama’s era, as it relates to judiciary and more specifically, prison and bail reform, the former President gave state judges discretionary powers to find alternative options to a custodial sentence if the perceived offender could not afford bail, such as a payment plan or community sentence. Just recently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions decided to repeal and roll back these powers, declaring that state judges no longer can practice such discretion, and if someone is accused of a crime, and cannot pay the bond amount, they will have to pay with jail time.

     Millions of people are separated from their families for months at a time—not because they are convicted of committing a crime, but because they are accused of committing a crime. On any given day, more than 400,000 people who are convicted of no crime are held in jail because they cannot afford to buy their freedom.

     We all know how discriminatory this is, especially as the majority of those stopped, searched, and arrested are young Black men—our boys. This policy also makes no fiscal sense for the public. For example, in the state of Texas, it costs over $50 per day to incarcerate someone, but less than $2 to supervise them on a community order. When Black and Brown people are over-policed, arrested, and accused of crimes at higher rates than others, and then forced to pay for their freedom before they ever see trial, big bail companies prosper. Every year $9 billion dollars is wasted incarcerating people who’ve not been convicted of a crime, and insurance companies, who have taken over the bail system, get richer.

     There is nothing more traumatic in this scenario than knowing that your son does not have the financial means to pay his bail and you are also unable to raise the exorbitant amount. This reminds me of the Kalief Browder case. Kalief’s family was too poor to post bond when he was accused of stealing a backpack. He was sentenced to a kind of purgatory before ever being brought to trial and finally the charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence. Meanwhile, of the nearly 3 years that he was at Riker’s Island, more than 2 of those were spent in solitary confinement, ultimately creating irreversible damage that lead to his suicide at age 22.

     The judges reviewing the bond limit are required to assess the risk of ‘flight or danger’ to the community. Many Black boys and men pose neither of these risks. Many offences with which they are charged are minor misdemeanors, i.e., shoplifting or possession of a small quantity of marijuana.

     The impact on the Black boy who now sits in jail awaiting a trial date or sentence is formidable, as he now faces multiple hardships. His education is disrupted. His mental state declines. He is estranged from his family and friends. He will be ostracised upon his release, labelled,and stigmatised. He will find it difficult to reintegrate back into society, including by finding gainful employment, which may lead him to repeat his behaviour.

     And what about the impact on his mother, not knowing when her son will be home? Mom worries herself sick, knowing he will be ill-treated. This worry accompanies tremendous guilt that weighs her down for not being financially able to bail him out, not to mention the emotional strain on his siblings and father and the mental anguish when confronted by family members, friends, neighbours and teachers who constantly ask “where is your boy?”

     Families are forced to take on more debt, often in predatory lending schemes created by bail bond insurers while their sons languish in jail, sometimes for months or years—a consequence of nationwide backlogs and prosecutorial interests. Not to mention, the Prison Industrial Complex, which also profits from vulnerable families who cannot afford bail. We can’t fix the broken criminal justice system until we take on the exploitative bail industry.

     As mothers, we have a duty of care. This includes social, political and economic activism.

     I hope this piece has ignited a flame, one that will help MOBB United and MOBB United for Social Change to distinguish this discriminatory practice and continue the fight to ensure that our sons do not pay such a harsh price for their freedom—whether at the hands of the police or the prison system.

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Tags:  accused  arrested  bai  Black  boys  Browder  brutality  crimes  death  die  discriminatory  eke  impact  injustice  insurance  Kalief  kill  law enforcement  maternal  men  murder  over-policed  paying for freedom  police  psyche  racism  Riker's Isalnd  Trauma  Uchechi 

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Kneeling for Justice

Posted By Tiffany A. Bargeman, Saturday, February 10, 2018
Updated: Friday, February 9, 2018

By Pamela Wood-Garcia

Pamela Wood-Garcia

     With Super Bowl LII just concluding with a Philadelphia Eagles victory over the New England Patriots, one has to wonder what happened to the Black Community and its allies taking a knee for justice? Just the other day, I was on Facebook, and my timeline was flooded with posts about how the Patriots were going to beat the Eagles in the big game. People of color were paying homage to Tom Brady and his athletic ability and his winning record. I was mortified, to say the least. Not that Tom Brady is not worthy of another Super Bowl win, but how the hell did any of my Facebook friends know anything about the Super Bowl? Were they actually watching playoff games? These were the same people who just a few weeks back were posting “Blackout the NFL” videos and hash tagging that they “stood with KAP”. So many people were so passionate when Spike Lee and other celebrities decided to publicly stand with Colin Kaepernick after he was blackballed for taking a knee during the NFL games in which he played. Many of the same people have now abandoned the process of bringing forth change. Kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner or skipping NFL games is not just about boycotting a few football games, it is part of the long process of bringing forth change. When did we, as a people stop trusting the process? The process is all that we have ever had in this country. When did we become so out of touch with our power that we would relinquish it to watch a football game? Did they forget about the vicious killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Eric Garner? Have they really lost sight of the slayings of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and Mario Woods?

 15-year-old Darius Smith of California (second from left), son of Reyshawna Myricks, died at the hands of law enforcement.

If we recap a few of the social injustices of 2017, it would give us plenty of reason to take a knee. Let’s start with January 2017 being the deadliest month for police brutality since 2015. In a report in the Washington Post, it is noted that 250 people were killed by law enforcement in the first month of last year. The rest of the year proved to be equally as disappointing. Betty Shelby was acquitted for the murder of Terence Crutcher. Darius Smith of California, Jordan Edwards of Texas and Jason Negron of Connecticut, all just 15 years old, were all killed at the hands of law enforcement within days of each other. Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of the murder of Philando Castile and our criminal justice system was placed under the leadership of very well known White supremacist, Jeff Sessions. The current president stood in front of a group of police officers and instructed them to use excessive force on “thugs”. There was the demonstration in Charlotteville, which was led like a Klan rally of old and took the life of Heather Heyer, who was peacefully protesting with friends. As if that was not enough, the president stood before another crowd and called NFL players sons of bitches for taking a knee during the national anthem. I think that is enough to justify kneeling for justice but if the events of 2017 are not enough to make you want to take a knee, then maybe the following will be.

     We, as Africans in America need to trust our own processes. If we say that we are taking a knee for justice, why did so many of us fall off of the boycott Spike Lee and so many other celebrities started? It is a sad day when we are not connected enough as a people to skip a few football games or take a knee during a song that is about murdering our predecessors to ensure that we are treated fairly and that our sons and daughters can move about the country they live in without law enforcement being a threat to their very lives. We need to quit playing woke on social media and wake up in real life! Things will not change if we don't trust our own processes. Our ancestors trusted the process of making change and they saw the process all the way through.

     Sojourner Truth, a Women’s Rights activist and an African Slave abolitionist was one of the very first Black women to take a stand to protect her son by way of legislation and win. Truth, who lived in New York, learned that her 5-year-old son, Peter, had been sold illegally by her former slave owner to a man in Alabama. With the help of white abolitionists, she took the issue to court and in 1828, after a long drawn out legal battle, she got her son back. The process of getting her son back took close to 2 years. Many Black Women in that era would have given up hope before their case reached a high court, but Truth stuck it out and saw victory by way of trusting the process that she started.
     
     Shirley Chisholm was the first Black woman to serve in the United States senate. She was also the very first Black person to run for President of the United States after reconstruction. She never made it past the primaries but she did blaze a trail for future generations. People like Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama ran after Chisholm and each made mention of her while campaigning.

     Rosa Parks trusted the process of small incremental change based on major sacrifice. She and the entire Black community of Montgomery, Alabama, boycotted the bus system after Rosa was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. This sparked a large scale boycott of the bus system in Montgomery Alabama and marked the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. For 13 months our predecessors walked miles to and from their jobs and anyplace else they needed to go. They did this until the Supreme Court changed the segregation laws of the bus system in Montgomery. They became a cohesive unit and saw the boycott process through. Through this boycott, they fought for themselves, but they also fought for us. Our children need to see us the same way we see our ancestors.

     As moms, we are Black History in the making. Changing the perception that society has of Black boys and men, influencing policy, demonstrating the power of the Black woman and our allies, and partnering strategically with groups and individuals who can help further our mission is no easy task. We are women on a mission to make change but there is a process to making that change. On a daily basis, MOBB United leadership puts it all on the line to ensure that the world knows that we are here for our sons. We actually are marching, writing letters and emails, making phone calls, going to funerals, raising funds for families, meeting with legislators, having group chats and national calls, and educating ourselves, and we do it all for the love of our sons. It is not just a good look on social media; it is a daily sacrifice of time and energy. We have to let go of what seems normal and comfortable for what is right. Everybody mentioned in this article chose to do what was right. Kneeling for justice may have been perceived as a good look to some; those who boycotted until their team was in the playoffs. But Colin Kaepernick didn’t take a knee because it was a good look; he did it because it was the right thing to do. He did it to protest the atrocities that our sons face everyday. Taking a knee for Justice needed to be backed by the entire Black community throughout the entire football season for it to be most effective, but some people dropped the ball—they fumbled!

     As moms, we cannot drop the ball. We have to give our all to push our mission forward, and each mom’s contribution makes up part of that united “all”. Being on social media with MOBB United is a great look for any mom of a Black son, but it is the work that makes that look so amazing! Please help us to do our work and see our processes through by becoming an official member of MOBB United today. Sign up on our website and join a committee. Become a part of Black History. Help us to help our sons. We are carrying on the legacy of our ancestors by being an unstoppable, unmovable force in the communities that we serve. Our children should look back and see us the way that we see our ancestors. They should see all of us complete our processes.

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     We take a stand for all moms whose Black sons love the game of football. We understand that most of them cannot simply choose to take a knee against injustice publicly. whether our sons are paid to take the field, do it purely for the love or don't play a sport at all, they ALL deserve to be treated fairly! On the field and off! They should be allowed to express their opinions. PERIOD.

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Tags:  America  Colin  darius  entertain  flag  football  garcia  Justice  Kaepernick  kneel  law enforcement  Nation  NFL  pamela  process  protest  respect  Rights  smith  sports  Take a knee  wood  wood-garcia 

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MOBB United for Social Change Call Center Update

Posted By Tiffany A. Bargeman, Saturday, February 10, 2018
Updated: Friday, February 9, 2018

By Aimee Wilson and Carla Canty-Byrd

MUSC Call Center Update

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 rapidresponse@mobbunited.org with available details of the excessive use of force or school-related racism, discrimination, or bullying incident.

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    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.

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Tags:  Call Center Rapid Response Team Update 

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MOBB United at San Diego Women's March

Posted By Tiffany A. Bargeman, Saturday, February 10, 2018
Updated: Friday, February 9, 2018

By Tiffany Bargeman and Vanessa McCullers

     On January 20th, thousands of women descended on Waterfront Park for the Women's March in San Diego, CA, to demonstrate their unity and be voices for those in need of support. MOBB United's Communications Committee Chair Vanessa McCullers gave a powerful and passionate speech on behalf of the sister organizations MOBB United for Social Change, Inc. (MUSC) and Moms of Black Boys United, Inc., explaining just how valuable the lives of our Black men and boys are and demanding social change for them and all moms of Black sons in America. Please take some time to read her speech below.

Vanessa McCullers gives speech on behalf of MOBB United at San Diego Women's March January 20, 2018

Speech:

“Good morning, everyone! I am so excited to see so many new and familiar faces today. To the organizers of today’s march, Sarah, Poppy, and your teams, thank you. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to speak this morning.
 
This same time last year, I was preparing for the Women’s March. My daughter, Jazz, was beside me, proudly displaying her Girl Power. I was beyond thrilled with Jazz’s desire to be heard and to raise her voice against racism and discrimination, exactly like we do at MOBB United.
 
In 2016, I joined our hours-old online network of mothers called Moms of Black Boys United on Facebook. We moms shared our concerns and fears.  In fact, many of us mothers agree that our Black children; specifically, our black boys, live in a society that is both hostile and threatening to them.  Statistics indicate that 1 in 3 Black men will enter prison at some point in their lives. The killings of unarmed black men are now being streamed via social media. Our members knew we needed to speak out against the negative things that were impacting our families and our communities. But we knew that simply complaining about injustice was not the way. So we have developed a nonprofit, Moms of Black Boys United for Social Change. We are committed to using our strength and power to fight police brutality.

The emotional stimuli to fight and never give up comes from many different sources. Like Trump and his harmful remarks about women, African Americans, immigrants, poor and disenfranchised lets us know that our voices are needed.
 
With its longstanding history of bias and insensitivity toward racial and ethnic minorities, I believe there is no justice in the Department of Justice. I say this because the DOJ declines to enforce laws that benefit and protect communities of color. Whenever communities of color are under attack and under siege, no one is held accountable.  
 
Not only should the officers be held accountable, but also those who encourage them to be “rough” when arresting citizens!

 If we are to find justice for all the sons, brothers, husbands and loved ones we have lost, we must encourage our state and local officials to embrace our agenda—an agenda that cries POLICE BRUTALITY NO MORE, and seeks accountability from those who use their position of influence to break the law.
 
MOBB United for Social Change is committed to holding the Trump Administration, our local, and our state officials accountable to creating policies that benefit all people, especially communities of color.

We are serious about the fight for justice in America. We will not rest until our Black daughters and sons can feel 100 percent safe walking alone to the convenience store to purchase ice tea and Skittles.  They shouldn’t have to run from the police. They should be able to run to the police if they are in trouble!
 
Together, we stand asking you to stand with us. We believe that by using our collective powers, we can create change, and build a better, brighter, kinder and safer world for your sons and daughters, for Jazz, for future generations, and for all of humanity.
 
Thank you for hearing the cry of MOBB United! Stay alert, vote in every election, and never give up the fight!”

 Facebook Re-Post
The following posts were shared originally in the Moms of Black Boys United, Inc. private Facebook group, and mom Vaness McCullers gave us permission to share them publicly. If you are a mom of a Black son and member of that group, you can watch her deliver her speech.

Vanessa McCullers give powerful speech at San Diego Women's March January 20, 2018

San Diego Women's March

Vanessa's Reflections

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Tags:  accountable  African-American  bias  citizens  department of justice  disinfranchised  DOJ  enforcement  ethnic minorities  fight  immigrants  insensitivity  justic  law  McCullers  MOBB United  police  police brutality  poor  prison  protect them  racism  San Diego Women's March  social change  speech  statistics  unarmed  Vanessa 

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MOBB United Online

Posted By Tiffany A. Bargeman, Sunday, December 24, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, October 24, 2017

By Vanessa McCullers and Tiffany Bargeman

MOBB United Online

      Moms of Black Boys (MOBB) United, Inc. and MOBB United for Social Change, Inc. (MUSC) are sister organizations that are dedicated to positively influencing how Black boys and men are perceived and treated by law enforcement and in society. MOBB United, including both organizations, is a nationwide coalition of concerned moms of Black sons who represent every race, age, socioeconomic background, marital status, and education level. What we share is unconditional love for our Black sons, and we want others to see them through our proud eyes.  

     MOBB United applies a multi-pronged approach that includes media campaigns and storytelling, education and engagement, political and economic empowerment, self-care, strategic partnerships, sustained advocacy, and community involvement. MOBB United’s heavy online presence includes:

Website: http://www.mobbunited.org/

     Our website is our online home base, which contains our MOBB-generated content, as well as the gateway to our membership website. With our member-accessed section of the website, our members benefit in the following ways:   

  • Maintain focus on our shared concerns and shared power
  • Gather the resources and tools to advocate on an individual and broader level
  • Maintain continual connection to organizational activities and active members
  • Obtain targeted information on key organizational initiatives and calls to action that may affect members and their families’ lives

     Like most websites, anyone can visit and learn more about our organization. In addition, our online store can be accessed here. MOBBUnited.org supports these MOBB United pillars: Influence Policy, Demonstrate our Power, and Partner Strategically.

Facebook:

    Moms of Black Boys United, Inc. (closed): As our original online home, our closed Facebook group provides a space for moms and female caregivers of Black boys to share their joys, concerns, fears, tears, and celebrations with other moms.

    MOBB United for Social Change (public): This page is open to MOBBs AND non-MOBBs and provides a platform to illuminate issues that require action to affect public policy.

    Moms of Black Boys United page (public): Leadership uses this open Facebook page to share information on upcoming events and interests of Moms of Black Boys United, Inc.

TwitterOur Twitter account is our way to contribute to the public discourse on a range of topics, including race relations, social and racial justice, and political topics affecting our boys.

Instagram: @mobbunited On Instagram, we share real-time video, as well as personalized depictions of moms making a difference. We use this space to promote initiatives and events for Moms of Black Boys United.

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Tags:  Facebook  Instagram  MOBB United  MOBB United for Social Change  Moms of Black Boys United  MUSC  Twitter  YouTube 

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Education and Engagement Committee Update

Posted By Tiffany A. Bargeman, Sunday, December 24, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, October 24, 2017

By Kumari Ghafoor-Davis

Education and Engagement     Happy December, beautiful MOBB United Moms! We have had a busy year. One of the goals of the organization is to provide critical support to Moms and further their ability to advocate on behalf of their sons. The Education and Engagement Committee has several projects we have been working on to stay true to the MOBB United mission.

     The Education and Engagement committee kicked off a collaboration with “Black Minds Matter”, a course created by Dr. Luke Wood of San Diego State University. This 8-week course ran from October 23 through December 11 (Mondays at 4:30 p.m. PST / 730 p.m. EST). The course’s purpose was to help us understand how the school-to-prison pipeline can affect our sons from preschool onward due to the way our boys are treated, engaged, and spoken to by teachers. We have learned about how we all can have unconscious/implicit bias and how our boys can be deliberately disregarded by racial preference in classrooms. We also learned about the ascriptions of intelligence, which assume that our boys are not intelligent, and how criminal behavior is assumed from very early ages. The course also had a forum after the calls where participants asked questions and voiced opinions and comments in a safe space. Drs. Luke and Idara Wood were our featured guests on the November MOBB United National Calls. You can find the links to listen to those calls here and here.

     We also recently partnered with Katie Ishikura and her non-profit organization “The Conscious Kid Library.” For the holidays, we launched a project together that gives moms access to a list of books for our sons as well as allows us to subscribe to the Conscious Kid book rental model where for a minimal charge ($9 a month), our boys can receive three books a month that are written by black authors with black heroes/main characters. The books will be delivered around the 1st of the month and picked up around the same time, so our sons (ages 4-18) can read more books that help them identify with characters who look like them. This project honors our mission by not only assisting our boys to have better perceptions of themselves but also by helping them to read more. Getting our children to read more has become the goal of many school districts across the country since studies like the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s have shown that the success of our boys is strongly correlated with learning to read at grade level by the 3rd grade.

     There’s much more to come as the school year moves quickly. For now, we would like to remind high school senior parents to connect with your school’s guidance counselor/social worker so that your children can apply for college financial aid for next Fall. Applications can be submitted from October 1st every year and should be completed by June 30th, 2018. Please be aware that filing early can allow for more funds to be available for your child for college. Also, be mindful that parents of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors should already be taking their children on college tours and considering college size (including classroom size), majors, course offerings, college philosophy, and professor experience. All of these can indirectly affect our children’s success in college and their ability to complete their coursework and graduate. Parents of all children should take advantage of any assistance their children can utilize during the school year, including tutoring, summer programs, SAT Prep, College Prep Courses and programs, (like Upward Bound), etc.

     As we move into the new year, we would like to remind parents to review the School Tips that were posted in August with their children. Follow up can include discussing/reviewing any goals that your family decided to work on for the school year. Revisit your vision board and see if you are on track. For example, if a mom had a “parent promise” of not yelling, she should revisit and discuss this goal with her child to see if she has been yelling less. We all have things in our lives we would like to change to make us more productive and sometimes we need to revisit our goals and tweak them accordingly.

     Have a wonderful holiday. See you in the New Year.

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Tags:  advocacy  advocate  Allen  Black  Black Minds Matter  boys  class  course  Dr.  Education  engagement  Marie  research  Rose  Rosemarie  statistics  study 

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Moms of Black Boys United - Ensuring that our SUNs Survive and Thrive
 
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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.

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