CODEPINK Press Release
March 6, 2015
International Women’s Day Event hosted by CODEPINK: Mothers of Slain Children from the US, Gaza and Mexico hold Web Conference about Police Militarization
Where: Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
When: 11amPST, March 8, 2015
Additional Information: http://www.demilitarize.me/nathan/mother_s_call
On March 8, International Women’s Day, mothers from Mexico, Palestine and the United States whose children have been murdered or abducted by US-funded police or military will converge by video conference. Their demands include an end to state militarization, state-sanctioned murder of their children, US arming of local forces with the weapons of war, and an end to the war on drugs. The peace group CODEPINK will be hosting the video conference as a part of its broader campaign, Communities Organize to Demilitarize Enforcement (CODE), which aims to demilitarize American police and raise awareness about the militarization of American society.
The video conference delegation is comprised of several mothers representing thousands of mothers across the world who have lost their children to US-sponsored violence. People from around the world will be joining these mothers via video conference to hear the stories of these women directly affected by state-sponsored violence. Viewing parties will take place in various cities across the US. The Twitter hashtags used for the event will be #ProtectOurKids and #StopFundingWars.
Email Nathan@codepink.org if you would like to be connected to a mother in advance.
“When someone loses a loved one from those who were sworn to protect and serve the community, it affects the entire human race, no matter what state or country you live in," said Valerie Bell, whose 26-year-old son was killed by New York Police in 2006.
“These mothers represent not just their own children, but the thousands of other mothers who have endured similar loss, as well as the children and families who are still with us but continue to be at risk as long as these policies are in place, and there remains zero accountability for these acts of violence.” said Nathan Sheard, the organizer for CODEPINK’s Communities Organizing to Demilitarize Enforcement campaign. “We look forward to having people join us via video from their own communities to hear the different yet connected stories of these women directly affected by state-sponsored violence. After the call we hope folks from the US will go even further to support the mothers by calling on President Obama place a moratorium on the 1033 Federal Program that gives police military equipment.”
“President Obama and Congress continue to allocate over 50% of US taxpayers’ discretionary funds in wars. This militarism is now in our streets with military equipment in the hands of police departments and school districts around the country," said CODEPINK co-founder Jodie Evans. "The US-funded War on Drugs has taken over 100,000 victims south of the US border, including the 43 disappeared students in Ayotzinapa. Now Obama wants Congress to approve endless war with a new AUMF. We are bringing these mothers together for an online conference to demand those in power #ProtectOurKids and #StopFundingWars."
JERALYNN BLUFORD from Oakland, California has organized a group of mothers known as Helping Hearts to Heal. Her 18-year-old son Alan Blueford was shot to death in East Oakland by a city police officer on May 6, 2012. Blueford has since been active in Bay Area rallies against police brutality and founded the Alan Blueford Center.
DANETTE CHAVIS from New York, New York, lost her 19-year-old son in October 2004. After being shot in a gunfire exchange (not with police), Gregory Chavis died just a block from Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx when police prevented him from receiving any medical treatment. Chavis has been active at demonstrations, is the head of National Action Against Police Brutality, and has launched a petition demanding justice for her son that has over 16,000 signatures.
WANDA JOHNSON’s son Oscar Grant was shot in the back and killed by transit Police Officer Johannes Mehserle at a train station in Oakland, California. Initially charged with second-degree murder, Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Since the death of her son, Johnson has been active on the Board of Directors of the Oscar Grant Foundation, a resource for at-risk youth of all races who wish to turn their lives around in a positive way. A gospel minister and nation speaker, Johnson has made guest appearances on nationally syndicated television programs, universities and public forums to bring attention to injustices in law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
VALERIE BELL is the mother of Sean Bell, a 23-year-old unarmed man killed on his wedding day, November 25, 2006, in a barrage of 50 shots fired into his car by New York plainclothes police officers. The officers thought his friend had a gun. The detectives involved in the shooting were acquitted, and the Bell family was awarded a settlement by the city of New York. Valerie Bell is the founder of Mothers of Never Again (MONA).
NEMEH SHAMLAWI is the mother of Ali Shamlawi, one of five Palestinian boys facing possible life in prison for a crime many insist never occurred, and for which there are no witnesses connecting the accused. In the occupied West Bank, Palestinians are tried in a military court system which convicts Palestinian children at a rate of 99.7%. Since her son's abduction and imprisonment in March of 2013, Nemeh and the mothers of the 4 other boys have been fighting for the return of their sons, and an end to the human rights violations that define the Israeli Apartheid system upheld by the US-supported Israeli army.
KARLA CASTANEDA is the mother of Cinthia Jocabeth Castañeda Alvarado, who disappeared in Juárez, Mexico, in 2008 at age 13. Since her daughter’s disappearance, Karla has experienced harassment and threats from Juárez police officers, and now she is living in the U.S. with her four children, all granted humanitarian parole.