By MICHELLE HOLLINGER
United by their shared losses, Sabrina Fulton, Geneva Reed-Veal and Gwen Carr have decided to use their grief as motivation to help change some of the circumstances that might have contributed to their sons’ and daughter’s deaths.
One of those changes involves convincing people to become involved in the political process by registering and casting their vote for Hillary Clinton in the November presidential election.
Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland and Carr, mother of Eric Garner made several stops in South Florida yesterday, one of them at Florida International University for a gathering hosted by the FIU Center for Women’s Studies. Following their appearance before about 60 students, the mothers sat down for an exclusive interview with the South Florida Times before heading to a forum at Florida Memorial University.
Martin was the 17-year old Florida teen gunned down as he walked back to his father’s home. Bland was found dead in a jail cell after being pulled over and arrested for failing to use her car’s turn signal. And Garner was killed when a police officer choked him despite the man’s pleas that “I can’t breathe.”
Carr said voting is imperative.
“It’s an emergency out here. Some people don’t realize how important this election is. Some people think their vote doesn’t count,” she said.
The public nature of their losses provides them a platform to encourage people to get involved, Reed-Veal explained. “A lot of folks respect us as mothers. If you see us out here and we’re going through our grief openly, you mean to tell you you’re going to have the gall to stay home, when all you have to do is get out to vote,” she said.
Regarding whom to choose, Fulton said the choice should be easy.
“They need to look at her experience running a foundation.” and what she has done in the past, what she is currently doing, what she has proposed to do,” Fulton shared. “She’s gone from first lady to secretary of state, even
For Democrats who still have not decided to vote for Clinton, Reed-Veal said “stop it.”
“When you talk about facts, let’s not go back to 1990 when we’re talking about the crime bill. Let’s not go all the way back there and pull out something that had nothing to do with her. She wasn’t the president, she was the first lady,” she said of many African Americans who are critical of Clinton based on President Bill Clinton’s signing into law a crime bill he later admitted worsened the nation’s criminal justice system by increasing prison sentences, especially for blacks.
“If I was responsible for everything my man did, we’d have a situation,” added Reed-Veal, who went on to support Clinton by saying, “Emails? Let’s stop it with the distractions. While we’re over here debating, they’re over there donating. You really give me some real reason to not vote for the most qualified candidate on the ballot or go sit down. And if you don’t go vote, you shut your mouth. Don’t say a word, this is serious.”
“If she was a man, would they have the same distractions,” Carr questioned. “She stood up under those Republicans for eleven hours as they threw daggers at her and she caught them in her teeth and spit them back out. That’s the kind of woman I want for my president.”
“We cannot continue to sit and not do anything. You have to do something, put your words into action. Whether it’s participating with a non-profit organization, writing letters, do something to participate, to be a part of that change,” said Fulton.