Cary Ball, Jr. and Toni Taylor

Cary Ball Jr. and his mother, Toni Taylor. According to medical records, Cary was shot at least 25 times by St. Louis police, including six times in the back, and killed on April 24, 2013.

When George Floyd cried out for his deceased mother while an officer’s knee was on his neck during the arrest that ended his life, mothers who have lost children at the hands of police cried out too. A month after Floyd’s death by a then Minneapolis police officer sparked global protests still ongoing, the first National Mothers March, to be held July 11-12 in Minneapolis, hopes to answer those cries through solidarity and collection action.

“Last month when (George) Floyd was taken from his family, his sister talked about when he cried out for his mother, that he really was crying out for all mothers to come together and stand in solidarity,” said Toni Taylor.

Taylor’s son, Cary Ball Jr., was killed as a result of being shot 25 times by St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers in 2013. She was joined on Tuesday by Gina Torres, the mother of Isaiah Hammett, who was murdered by SWAT in a no-knock raid on his home in 2017. The two are part of a local group called Mothers of Children Murdered by Police and plan to attend the inaugural National Mothers March.

The march is organized by Take A Knee Nation, which was formed to fight police violence. In 2018, the group held a conference and protest during the Super Bowl to support football quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The protest included many mothers who have lost their children to police violence including Michael Brown Jr. and Tamir Rice.

In addition to demanding the end to police violence, march organizers are asking that all cases involving police violence be reopened and that “killer cops involved be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” according to the Take A Knee Nation website.

The two-day event will include Saturday workshops on topics like ways to seek justice and self-care through journaling. On Sunday, the group will march to the state capitol building. Taylor said 84 families have registered to the first-time event so far.

Taylor said that she also hopes to network with others who have been working to get the police responsible for killing their loved ones prosecuted. No one was charged in the death of her son.

“My case was moved to the feds,” she said. “But what I’m finding out seven years later is that basically it was a political trick to bury the case.”

No charges were brought against the officers who killed Torres’ son either although she currently has a lawsuit against the city. She said she hopes the march will unite families seeking justice and give them a collective voice.

“I’m hoping to meet other families who’ve been through what I've been through,” she said. “We’re about justice for all, not just our sons. We’re in this fight together. I’m hoping to meet other families to join us together because if we don’t stick together, nothing is going to happen, they won’t take us seriously.”

Taylor said that while they hope to see “mother, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles,” the march taps into the power of grieving and unified mothers and their call for action.

“Mothers are the ones who birth our children, we actually feel their pain,” she said “Even though we weren’t there that night when they got killed, we felt that. And it’s just time for mothers to take this fight back into our own hands.”

For more information about the National Mothers March, visit www.takeakneenation.org.

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