‘Mothers of the Movement’ come to DSU to back Clinton

DOVER — Mothers who have lost children to gun violence and police incidents shared their stories at Delaware State University on Friday afternoon.

The mothers also discussed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s plans to help resolve the issue.

The Clinton campaign named this sisterhood forged in the shared loss of a child the “Mothers of the Movement.”

The group included Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton; Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, Nardyne Jefferies, mother of Brishell Jones; Cleo Pendelton, mother of Hadiya Pendelton; and Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland.

About 100 students listened as each of the mothers shared their stories in detail on how their son or daughter was killed.

Ms. Pendelton, whose 15 year-old daughter Hadiya was shot and killed just one week after returning from performing in Washington at President Obama’s second inauguration in 2013, said the process has been hard.

“This walk isn’t easy,” Ms. Pendelton said. “I don’t want anyone in this room to go through what we’re going through. It takes strength and sacrifice to try and make the point that there is an issue as it relates to guns.

“It’s your right to have a gun and people who shouldn’t have guns shouldn’t be able to easily access them because when they do, casualties occur and that’s what my daughter was.”

Last year, the mothers of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, and a half-dozen other women who have lost children in clashes with the police or in gun violence, were flown in from around the country and invited to gather around a table.

They were joined by Mrs. Clinton, who asked them, one by one, to tell her their stories. Mrs. Clinton then encouraged the women to organize and travel the country with her campaign.

Ms. Hamilton, whose 31-year-old son Dontre was shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer in 2014, said they’re the voices for their children moving forward.

“We’re going to be their voice for the rest of their lives,” Ms. Hamilton said. “We formed this to save everyone else from what we went through. That’s why we started this movement.”

DSU sophomores Dashayna Brown and Shamar Aminson felt glad the mothers came to the college.

“It’s really important that the mothers came here today to speak,” Ms. Brown said. “It gives us a chance to see their faces and understand that this isn’t anything that’s happening on social media or television.

“These mothers are real and are really going through this,” she added. “It’s important to see that they are really affected by this. This can happen to anyone.”

Ms. Aminson agreed.

“People know what’s going on, but they don’t realize the impact that it has on these families,” Ms. Aminson said.

“You get to feel the pain they go through when they speak and it makes you want to actually do something about it. The more you know the more you want to do.”

The mothers encouraged the students to make a change by voting.

“You hear that your voice doesn’t matter, but it does,” Ms. Hamilton said. “We want you to stand up and move. Now is the time, not next week, but right now.”

Ms. Brown said the change doesn’t start nationally, but locally as well.

“I did like that they stressed the importance of voting, but I think people need to do their own research before jumping for one campaign to another,” Ms. Brown said.

“I think it’s important for students to go out and listen and make their own decisions, but also get involved in their communities by voting locally not just on the national level.”

Mrs. Clinton will be at the World Cafe Live at The Queen theater in Wilmington Monday morning. The Delaware presidential primary is Tuesday.

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