Mothers of Black Boys Are Uniting to Protect Sons From Police Violence

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For millions of Americans, the racial climate in the country today is not only unsettling, but in many instances lethal. In a nation where colonization and slavery were founding principles, there remains a system in place which continues to encourage the economic, political, and social disenfranchisement of people of color and many would argue in no area is that more evident than in the treatment of Black Americans. Beyond the tragedies of systemic forms of oppression like mass incarceration and poverty, there exists, for many, a blatant lack of regard for Black lives at the hands of law enforcement in this country. For every Oscar Grant, Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Tamir Rice, there are countless family members and loved ones who are left to piece together their fractured lives and unfortunately, today’s America is home to far too many Black mothers who have had to bury their sons.

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Depelsha McGruder is a mother of two Black boys, and she’s launched Mothers of Black Boys United (MOBB) as a support group and political organization. A Facebook group that has swelled to over 130,000 members, it describes itself as an organization “focused on influencing policy and perception impacting how Black boys and men are treated by law enforcement,” formed in response to the deaths of Black children at the hands of violent police. The group aims to “provide a private discussion forum for moms and women who are primary caretakers of Black sons to share our concerns, fears, anxieties and hopes and to propose solutions to the very real challenges our children face in surviving and thriving in America,” and members are encouraged to debate and uplift.

Depelsha McGruder

McGruder penned an essay for the Root in which she details the driving inspiration behind MOBB. “While other children have the privilege to be carefree, our children, particularly our boys, have the additional burden of not appearing too threatening—all of this long before they can even drive,” she says. “If you are a mom of a Black boy, the level of fear and anxiety that you feel regarding your children’s basic safety, in the most mundane of situations, can be overwhelming.” She writes that young Black boys are often seen as “wild, irrational animals whose natural inclination is to harm and kill others,” and so she opted to get organized and create a community in which other mothers who fear for the lives of their sons could come together in a united front.

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“We plan to use a multifaceted approach to address the issues and contributing factors at the local, state and federal levels, with the ultimate goal of influencing policy that prevents police from harassing, brutalizing and killing our boys and men without accountability,” she writes while also mourning the loss of murdered police officers, too. As she explains, “we want to work toward rooting out police officers who abuse their position of authority” while simultaneously taking steps to enact legislative change to better protect children from overzealous officers.

Those interested in becoming involved with MOBB can do so by visiting the group’s Facebook page.