What Black Mothers Want You To Know About George Floyd’s Death

Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images.
George Floyd’s last words are being heard around the world. People are writing them on the posters they’re bringing to Black Lives Matter rallies. Protesters are chanting them while they march in opposition to police brutality and systemic racism. 
 
The words are haunting and stomach turning: the sounds of a man begging for his life, while the person ostensibly meant to protect and serve ignores his pleas for nearly nine minutes, ultimately killing him.
One word in particular has resonated with people globally. In the last minutes of his life, George Floyd called out for his mother, who passed away around two years ago. 
 
“Mama,” he shouted. “Mama… I’m through!”
 
On Tuesday, George Floyd will  be buried next to his mother in Pearland, TX.
His cry resonates so deeply with us because most of us know what it’s like to need your mom — even as an adult, to need the particular brand of comfort and reassurance that only a mother figure can deliver. And, of course, his words have been especially impactful for Black mothers and mothers of color, who are intimately familiar with the fear that comes from knowing that your child is not completely safe, even from the people who are meant to be beacons of safety.
Not long after the video of George Floyd’s killing became public, a slogan started appearing on posters and city walls: All mothers were summoned when he called out for his mama. And it's true: Mothers around the nation are calling for justice for Floyd, for Breonna Taylor, for Ahmaud Arbery, and for all the Black people whose lives and livelihoods have been put in danger due to systemic racism and violence perpetrated by authority figures. They're demanding reforms in the criminal justice system.
We asked five Black moms what they want the world to know about the unique and painful burden of fear that comes from watching people — people who look like their children — die. 
Interviews have been condensed for length and clarity. 
To help bring attention to the police killing of George Floyd, you can sign the Change.org petition here, or donate to local organizations like Black Vision Collective or Reclaim the Block via the Minnesota Freedom Fund here.

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