Mrs. Gwen Carr is ready to tell much more of her story in support of “boy: Defending Our Black Sons Identity in America” which shares stories of mothers whose sons have been impacted by police brutality and systemic racism. She has recently signed on to serve as foreword contributor and is ready to share the purpose discovered in her pain after losing her beloved son, Eric Garner. On what would have been her son’s 50th birthday, Gwen Carr sat down with Good Morning America and other mothers to talk about life after their children’s deaths at the hands of police officers. Describing the aftermath of the murder and life without her son, Carr told ABC News’ Lesley Messer , “the nightmare was never over. It’s worse than a nightmare because at least with a nightmare, you wake up.”
Though somewhat removed from the national spotlight, Carr remains visible as an agent of change saying, “we have to go from demonstration (protests) to legislation.” She took her demands for justice straight to lawmakers who were forced to deal with the grieving, yet determined mother. She is currently fighting for recognition of her son in the form of “Eric Garner Day” on Staten Island and hopes to honor her son in that way.
In June of this year, Mrs. Carr attended the signing of the bill named in honor of her late son. The police-reform bill punishes any officer applying a chokehold to apprehend a citizen who is not directly protecting their own life. This is in direct action to the death of her son, because it would have protected his life during the altercation that ended Eric Garner’s life.
Though Gwen Carr is part of the sorority of sisters whose children were robbed of the gift of life by policemen and police allies, she is lending support to another assemblage of women…mothers of survivors. After watching the harrowing video of George Floyd’s final minutes, Sherilyn Bennett had seen enough. Floyd’s death and his cries for his “mama” inspired Bennett’s forthcoming book “boy: Defending Our Black Sons Identity in America” which releases next month and features a collection of stories of mothers nationwide who share the harrowing encounters with law enforcement and systemic racism.
“Mom, police cars are everywhere. I have no idea what’s going on.”
Bennett a mother of two adult sons recounts the helpless moments campus officers unlawfully detained her son because they didn’t believe he was a student at the university. Her son was detained and released only after a coach confirmed that he wasn’t only a student but a member of the football team. This book tells previously unheard stories of mothers whose sons have experienced the cruel depravity of racism and police brutality as children and adults. Many men have similar experiences of internalizing painful experiences because sharing them would cause emotional harm to their loved ones.
A parent’s job is never done and the bond between mothers and children never ends. The Mothers of the Movement are well known activists but Following tragedies that took their loved ones lives, the Sisters of the Movement was born. The women work to not only preserve the memory of their brothers and sisters, they continue the fight for justice in their name. On his birthday, the Terence Crutcher Foundation will honor life with a day of service. The Botham Jean Foundation did the same earlier this month and his birthday, September 29th has been proclaimed “Be Like Bo” day in Dallas.
Mr. Garner’s daughter Erica took up the cause following his death and the Reverend Al Sharpton poignantly praised her work in a New York Times interview saying, “when her father died, an activist was born. You don’t just accept injustice, you fight.” Reverend Sharpton also alluded to the stress and duress of activism as contributing causes to her untimely demise.
The shared trauma of black men, black boys and their families is quantified in this book in hopes of providing community and creating resolve among readers and most importantly, mothers. Women have confessed to carrying the burden of trying to protect their sons, husbands, fathers, brothers and friends in what appears to be open season on black men.
“boy: Defending Our Black Sons Identity in America” releases next month and though formed as literature is a safe space to read about the shared experiences of black families in America, hopes to give its readers the strength necessary to persevere and keep striving to see a brighter future for black men in America!