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A Message From The (M)others

June 10th, 2020

In the past month, the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Sean Reed have joined the seemingly endless list of senseless deaths caused by police officers in this country. As mothers who have lost family members to police violence, this list is all too familiar. It is a community that nobody should ever have to belong to. These past few weeks have been deeply triggering for us and many families whose loved ones were killed before Mr. Floyd. It is said that when he was taking his last breaths, he cried out for his mother. The thought that our loved ones might have cried out for us in that same way haunts us. 


We are living in a failed state. The United States is one of the deadliest first-world nations when it comes to police killings. People of color are most often killed—many suffering through a mental health crisis when they died. With all of the events that are occurring, the protests, the demand for justice; don’t forget that a family has lost a loved one permanently and it never should have happened. The arrests of the officers, even their conviction is only the beginning. We need to attack the policies that allow officers to use excessive force at will. The problem is beyond the cop and so is the solution, be smart enough to know that. We know many of your hearts are aching, many of you are outraged, and many of you are exhausted by the weight of it all—we have been feeling this way for years, but we must keep going. 


We hope that you learn the names of those killed in your own back yards that never made national news and support those families in your own community. When all the protests die down, the families that have been impacted will still need your support for the long haul. Protect your people and learn the names of lives stolen in your community to make a difference where you live. For those who would like to support Bay-Area (m)others, please donate your time and/or resources to Silicon Valley De-Bug (, an advocacy organization that has been a source of strength for many local families navigating the aftermath of police violence.

And finally, to all the (m)others; we want all mothers to know that during this troubling time it’s imperative that we stay mentally and physically connected with one another. Mothers who have lost their child or loved ones through police terror need to reach out to other mothers to give and get support. Whether by text, phone calls, protests, conference calls, and planned events, let’s commit to asking for and giving each other support for the long road to follow. 


Sending sincerest condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Sean Reed, and so many others.  



In solidarity,


Kimberly Phillips

Mother of Aaron James Phillips aka AJ who was lynched by SJPD August 10, 2015.


Dionne Smith-Downs

Mother of James Earl Rivera Jr. who was shot and killed by Stockton police a day before his 17th birthday.


Laurie Valdez

Partner of Antonio Guzman Lopez and mother of a son left fatherless at the hands of SJSUPD.


Sharon Watkins

Mother of Phillip Watkins, who on February 11, 2015, was shot down in the street by SJPD during a mental crisis.


Nikki Yeboah

The (M)others, writer

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