Kelly Glass, writing for The Lily on Portland’s “Wall of Moms” – and why this is old hat for Black moms.
You’ve heard about Portland’s “Wall of Moms,” a mostly white group of mothers forming a “wall” to protect protesters from armed federal agents. But have you heard of the “Army of Moms”?Glass, Kelly. (2020, July 25). The ‘Wall of Moms’ is not the story. Black moms have been in this fight for years. The Lily. https://www.thelily.com/the-wall-of-moms-is-not-the-story-black-moms-have-been-in-this-fight-for-years/
In Englewood, a majority-black South Side neighborhood in the highly segregated city of Chicago, black mothers formed the group in 2015. Officially organized under the name Mothers Against Senseless Killings, the black mother-led group sat on the corners of the neighborhood’s most gun-violence plagued blocks to watch over children and serve as a barrier between their community and gun violence. Late last year, two of these black women were killed on the same blocks they set out to make safe for their community.
What’s telling is that the story that Ms. Glass pitched on the “Army of Moms” was rejected by several publications. The same publications now cover the Portland moms in exhaustive detail.
There’s nothing wrong with covering the Portland moms. Yet we have to ask why we as a nation continue to ignore the work Black moms – and Black women in general – have been putting in towards peace and justice.
Ms. Glass’ story was published on Zora, a Medium publication for women of color.
“We are not activists,” said Tamar Manasseh, founder of Mothers Against Senseless Killings, in a Facebook post.Glass, Kelly. (2019, November 8). Black Mothers in Chicago Are the Village Against Gun Violence. Zora. https://zora.medium.com/black-mothers-in-chicago-are-the-village-against-gun-violence-19d56027756e
In the days before Manasseh wrote these words, her friends, Andrea Stoudemire and Chantell Grant, were murdered on a Chicago corner.
Grant was a young mother, 26, who Manasseh says would bring her kids out every day to play. Grant and Stoudemire, 36, each had four children. “Two activists killed,” read the headlines from national news publications, framing them as women who set out to battle for a cause and their deaths as some sort of casualty of war. Even one of the city’s many nicknames, Chi-raq, coined by Chicago rapper King Louie, lends to the idea that the city is a war zone. In war, the only solutions are death and imprisonment. Black mothers, however, are bringing different solutions to Chicago through their presence.