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The words spoken in The (M)others are verbatim excerpts from interviews conducted by Nikki Yeboah with Bay-Area mothers who have lost loved ones at the hands of police. Through their stories, we get closer to understanding the toll police violence takes on families. These are the narratives of those who are left to put back the pieces after their loved ones are gone


The (M)others is written by Nikki Yeboah.

Kimberly Philips

Kimberly Phillips

My name is Kimberly Phillips, the mother of Aaron James Phillips, aka AJ who was murdered August ,10th 2015 by SJPD. They then, consciously and elaborately conspired to stage a suicide. I have filed several complaints starting with Internal Affairs, to the Independent Police Auditors, The Chief of Police Eddie Garcia, San Jose Bureau of Investigation, Mayor Sam Liccardo, the Department of Justice and the FBI. All of which, state my findings of corruption are unfounded and don’t reach the level to what they investigate. My son's blood spatter speaks loud and clear that he was shot! This is the wrong message to send the people, especially me a witness. This leaves me with little hope and trust in our Government agencies. Nothing but the truth will ever be acceptable to me. With this said, I expect all Government agencies to stand by the Oath you took to uphold the laws and constitution with the utmost integrity. I support AB931 and SB1421 because we the people have a right to be safe from state sponsored violence.

Dionne Smith-Downs

Dionne Smith-Downs

I've been looking for answers to my sixteen-year-old son, James Rivera Jr. was shot 48 times by Stockton Police on July 22nd, 2010. Still today as I write this I don't have 100% picture of what happened that day even though I tried to get an independent investigation. The evidence my family is entitled to has been denied. Without an official report or investigation, I have had to piece together an understanding of what happened to my son through a series of eyewitness accounts, none of which indicate that the police had any justification for opening fire on James. The only thing I have received from San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber-Salazar is that "we tortured you, we failed you, and we're sorry." But I already knew they were torturing me, and not just me. There are many families whose sons and daughters have been killed and have been tortured by the system. We need hope. We need accountability. We need those officers to be charged.

The Mothers Bio.jpg

Laurie Valdez

On February 21, 2014, Antonio Guzman Lopez was shot in back twice by SJSU PD, forced to live with an insurmountable pain, No words can describe. As a Mother left feeling Helpless, Broken, Angry and Frustrated
that nothing I do will change what happened or bring Antonio back. No Doctor, No Medicine will ever fix their broken hearts or make the pain they suffer go away. Suffering Trauma in the Aftermath of Police Violence,
dealing with Sleepless Nights, PTSD, Anxiety, Depression. Everyday is a struggle, never knowing what will trigger all the negative and painful
emotions. Its an emotional struggle trying to keep Antonio's Memory Alive, while dealing with the further injustices of knowing the Officers Escaped any Consequences and Never held Responsible for their actions. I will Not be Silent, Silent is Consent. I will fight for Truth, Justice and Expose the Toxic Culture destroying many families in our community. And Protect/Prevent Children being Exposed to Police Violence/Trauma. Learn more at


Sharon Watkins

My name is Sharon Watkins. I am a mother of 4 & Phillip was child number 3. It was a difficult birth, in fact we both almost died. This, I felt brought us closer. When Phil was killed, I went out of my mind with grief. I couldn't believe it then, and sometimes I still can't believe it. It's like a nightmare, only there is no waking up. I was informed to get an attorney when this happened, I did. We are currently appealing a decision made that basically said, I have no case. I share my story because the killing needs to stop, and accountability needs to happen. The police aren't the only ones to be held accountable; it has to start with the policy makers and those who police the police. There will be no justice without accountability. 


I'm told that the ones who fired the bullets that killed my son were acting within the law; the LAW is wrong. If I focus on just who, it's a band-aid solution when surgery is necessary. Hatred is not a solution, it's a symptom. A symptom of a government that refuses to hold accountable those given weapons that kill; kill families, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters. I have to be strong in this struggle because it's more than a struggle for justice, it's a struggle for life.

Nikki Yeboah

Nikki Yeboah, PhD

Nikki is a playwright, oral historian, and solo performer. Her work has been staged at The Hammer Theatre (San José), The Marsh (San Francisco), Links Hall (Chicago) & the Chicago Cultural Center. Nikki believes that storytelling is a transformative act. Stories have the power to move us, persuade us, and most importantly, connect us to worlds and people beyond ourselves. She holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. Nikki is an Assistant Professor in the Communication Studies Department of San Jose State University, where she uses oral history and performance to facilitate dialogue around issues of gender and racial inequality and social justice. She is a board member of Storycenter, a non-profit organization that uses storytelling for social change.

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