Social Justice Series: Momma

Updated: Aug 28

In this cinematic conversation we will give a particular focus on the contribution of the African American mothers voice to social injustice and how it can be instrumental to awareness and prevention of mass violence in not only the United States, but the world.

The Killing of George Floyd

The killing of George Floyd was a direct reflection on a history of violence against

people of color, instinctly bringing every Black Momma’s Voice to the forefront.

George was a 46-year-old black man, murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota on

May 25, 2020. During the arrest Derek Chauvin, a white police officer knelt on

his neck for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds after he was handcuffed and lying face

down on the pavement. The most poignant word from Mr. Floyd, cutting through

every household in America, was "MOMMA".

It was the calling of his MOMMA that every mother in the world could feel his pain. A calling out that provoked protest, change and accountability, but most importantly JUSTICE.

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Mothers of the Movement

Black motherhood, a combination of liberation and transformation. A group called Mothers of the Movement was started in 2013 as a result of the acquittal of George Zimmerman. Seven women, Gwen Carr, Sybrina Fulton, Maria Hamilton, Lucy McBath, Lezley McSpadden, Cleopatra Pendelton-Cowley and Geneva Reed-Veal set the stage.

Although every experience is different, the road to just is the same. Black mothers, our culture, our peace, but also a fortress for justice.

Ahmaud Arberry

Ahmaud Arbery was born on Mother’s day, May 8, 1994 in Brunswick Georgia. He was 25-years old when he was murdered. February 23, 2020 while jogging in Satilla Shores, a neighborhood in Glynn County, Georgia. It has been deemed as one of the most racially motivated crimes of the last decade.

On January 7, 2022 Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William Bryan, three white men, were convicted of murder of Ahmaud Arberry and sentenced to life in prison. On February 22, 2022 a federal jury found them guilty of hate crimes and attempted kidnapping.

Wanda Cooper Jones, was Ahmad’s Mother and on the day of his funeral she said, ”Mama will get to the bottom of it.” And she did. From the beginning she fought for justice in her son’s death. Her voice became a cultural staple against racism and violence.

She started the Ahmaud Arbery Foundation in 2021 with a mission of empowering, serving, and affirming mental health in African American boys. It was her commitment to her son… her promise, THAT MOMMA WOULD GET TO THE BOTTOM OF IT, that helped shape the arc of justice.

Breonna Taylor

Breonna Taylor was 26-years old when she was fatally shot in her Louisville, Kentucky apartment on March 13, 2020. A victim of a no-knock raid, her death sparked nationwide protests. Three officers, Myles Cosgrove, John Mattingly and Brett Hankinson raided Breonna’s apartment and she was shot dead.

After only 3 hours of deliberation, on March 3, 2022, a Kentucky jury acquitted Brett Hankinson, the only officer who faced charges, of endangering the lives of the neighbors of Breonna Taylor. He was never charged with the death of Breonna.

In Louisville, the shooting led to the passing of "Breonna's Law" which requires officers to wear body cameras when carrying out search warrants. In September 2020, the city of Louisville agreed to pay a historic $12 million in a settlement with Taylor's family. The settlement included an agreement for police reforms.

Tamika Palmer is Breonna’s mother, she said. "Justice for Breonna means that we will continue to save lives in her honor."

“It’s a very complex situation when a black boy grows into a man and finds himself in this country… and the only person who really knows anything about that, who knows it most intimately, is also the most dangerous figure in his life—-his mother… it’s not something his father can do much about, because his manhood is managed and he’s facing knives everyday.” ( Mead and Baldwin 1971, 48)

This exclusive episode is a part of our Social Justice Series. You can find out more in our films section.


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