FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Director of Communications
Mocha Moms, Inc.
The Nation’s Leading Organization for Mothers of Color Calls on the
Nation’s Police for Change
Mocha Moms, Inc. Asks Other Moms’ Groups/Women’s Organization to Join the Call
Upper Marlboro, MD- As the life was being choked out of George Floyd, he called out, "Mama!" Our sons and daughters are calling for us and we will answer. We will stand. This cancer of racism is killing our kids and it needs to end. Bringing an end to racism is a tall order and big job. We will start by re-issuing our 2016 call to police. The letter below is one we sent to a national police organization in 2016. It is shameful that the only change needed to reissue this letter is the addition of the two Minnesota cities where protests are breaking out now.
Today, we're not only reissuing this letter nationally, our local chapters are also sending it to their local police and sheriffs' departments, and we're asking other Moms' groups and women's organizations to join us by also signing on and sending the letter themselves.
To Our Law Enforcement Leaders:
We are Mocha Moms, Inc., the nation's oldest organization dedicated specifically to supporting mothers of color. We are gravely concerned about the ongoing instances of overuse of police force and we need you to hear our concerns.
We are mothers; mothers who love our children, raise them to be responsible, productive citizens, and teach them to respect authority. Across the country, we mothers of color also are daughters of law enforcement officers, wives of law enforcement officers, sisters of law enforcement officers, and mothers of law enforcement officers. We mothers of color are daughters of people who have been victimized by law enforcement, wives of people who have been victimized by law enforcement, sisters of people who have been victimized by law enforcement, and, horrifyingly, mothers of people who have been victimized by law enforcement. We are law enforcement officers ourselves as well as victims.
We won't choose between supporting police and stating that our families' lives matter. It's a false choice. We live comfortably with both ideas. We recognize and even honor your duty to protect and to serve. We understand that you walk out of your homes and away from your families every day putting your lives on the line to save the lives of others. We need you to understand that we teach our children to respect authority. More importantly, out of necessity, we teach them from a young age to turn to you for help if ever they're in trouble. Try to imagine how difficult it is to then have to teach them to be extra careful if ever stopped by police because any slip up- any lapse in judgment or expression of offense- could cost them their lives. What do we tell them when we see even black and brown people who comply with law enforcement orders are arrested, jailed and even killed? What do you want us to tell them? What would you tell your children?
Unfortunately, our parenting job is too often called into question whenever anyone justifies police strong arm tactics by pointing to our children's lack of respect for authority. It both perpetuates stereotypes about our parenting and the myth of angry and dangerous black and brown youth. Furthermore, you simply cannot complete your mission to protect and serve under the conditions of mutual distrust we face across the country.
The reality is, we want the same things: you want to combat crime and we want you to combat crime, specifically for the safety of our children. Neither of us wants our cities to show up on the national news like Charlotte, Baltimore, Ferguson, and now St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Popular thinking is that we mothers of color and you enforcers of the law are opponents, but we should be partners. We should be able to feel the same expectation of safety as white mothers feel. We strongly encourage you to meet with us and work with us; partner with us Mocha Moms to build trust and confidence to save the lives of our children and to save yours.
"I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."
- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
To download the generic version of this letter for local chapters and other organizations to sign and send, click HERE.