Mothers of the Movement

Last Friday, a funeral was held in Baton Rouge for a police officer murdered there last week. Saturday brought two more police funerals, one in Kansas City, and another in Baton Rouge. The funeral for the third Baton Rouge officer killed last week was held on Monday.

Also on Monday, to far greater attention than any of these funerals received, the Democratic National Convention began in Philadelphia. Among the speakers to address the convention on Tuesday night was a group of women collectively known as the Mothers of the Movement, the members of which are connected by way of having lost children under violent or otherwise controversial circumstances. The group includes the mothers of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Dontré Hamilton, Jordan Davis, and Hadiya Pendleton.

The circumstances surrounding the deaths of these people are so divergent that it’s difficult to discern what “movement” their mothers might represent or what it is they seek to move. Two of them, Davis and Pendleton, were unambiguously murder victims. Davis was 17 when he was shot and killed in Jacksonville, Florida, after arguing with a man who had asked him to lower the volume of the music he was playing. The man who shot him was convicted of first-degree murder (though it took two trials) and sentenced to life in prison. Pendleton was 15 when she was shot and killed while in a park with friends in the Kenwood neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side. Two suspects, both gang members, have been charged with her murder.