The Mothers of the Movement - a group of mothers of black Americans killed by gun violence - spoke during the second night of the Democratic National Convention 2016 on Tuesday (26 July) to highlight Hillary Clinton's support and commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Their appearance marks a stark contrast to the Republican Convention earlier in July, where attendees opted to chant "All Lives Matter" over "Black Lives Matter". The nine mothers gathered on stage to talk about their slain children and how Clinton has addressed issues of racial divisions, police brutality and gun violence.
Wearing matching red flowers on their lapels, Maria Hamilton, Annette Nance-Holt, Gwen Carr, Geneva Reed-Veal, Lucia McBath, Sybrina Fulton, Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, Lezley McSpadden, and Wanda Johnson honoured their children and provided the Black Lives Matter movement a national platform.
Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland, delivered the first emotional account in support of the Democratic nominee, according to The Guardian. "So many of our children are gone, but they are not forgotten. I am here with Hillary Clinton tonight, because she is a leader and a mother who will save our children's lives," she said.
"She knows that when a young black life is cut short, it's not just a loss, it's a personal loss, it's a national loss, it's a loss that diminishes all of us. What a blessing tonight to be standing here so that Sandy can still speak through her momma," Reed-Veal said before receiving a standing ovation.
McBath, mother of Jordan Davis, spoke next and said she still wakes up every day thinking of her son and how to protect his legacy. She said she had warned her son that because he was a young black man he would be met by people who did not value his life.
"That is a conversation that no parent should ever have with their child," McBath said. "Hillary Clinton isn't afraid to say that Black Lives Matter...she doesn't build walls around her heart."
Fulton, the mother of 12-year-old Travyon Martin - told the crowd she was there to speak for her son "who is in heaven" and for this brother who is still alive. "I will do everything I can to focus this light on the pain of a path out of darkness. Hillary Clinton has the compassion to support grieving mothers. She has the courage to support common-sense gun legislation," she said.
"This isn't about being politically correct. This is about saving our children. That's why we're here, tonight, with Hillary Clinton, and that's why, in memory of our children, we are employing you, all of you, to vote this election day. Hillary is one mother who can ensure our movement will succeed," Fulton added.
According to Vox, the women's supportive words on the convention floor wasn't the first time they had endorsed Clinton. Fulton and McBath issued separate endorsements for Clinton in January, while Reed-Veal has reportedly supported Clinton since 2008. In March, Fulton, McBath, Carr, Reed-Veal and Hamilton joined forces to star in a campaign video for Clinton.