A Mother’s Day Card to Mothers Who Lost Their Children to Police Brutality

Dr. Candice Bledsoe
“Happy Mother’s Day, Mama.”

The dove weeps for your children’s souls that were taken too quickly from the

nurturing arms of Mama.

Singing Negro spirituals in open casket funerals, the wind of disbelief continues to kiss your

cheek like a mosquito sucking blood from the skin.

You know it’s there, but you’re too tired to swat at it.

Numb. Outraged. Dazed. Silent.

Your memory is filled with soloists singing Precious Lord, O’ Mary Don’t You Weep, and The Lord’s Prayer.

Visions of crowded churches with open caskets of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Jordan Edwards, Emmitt Till, and other nameless black boys who have died in America’s dream.

What do you say to a mother who’s lost her child to police brutality?

“Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.”

She will never her those four words again from her child.

With an aching soul, you muster of the words to share for the family.

During your grieving, consoling others that everything is going to be alright.

As you meet the eyes of other Black mother and you realize, she is not protected from the pain that suffocates you. We can be you in an instance…

…and we know it.

Screaming silently, you relive the moment when you heard your baby was gunned down like an animal.

What does one say to the women of color who lost their children to police violence?

“Happy Mother’s Day, M’Dea.”

The loud sound of shuffling cards in shopping malls overshadows the hollow cry of those who buried strange fruit too soon.

Howling cries during the night, racing memories of baby bottles, and tasting the smell of gun smoke comfort you on Mother’s Day.

Your baby taken and your life changed forever.

Mothers of Trayvon, Mike, Jordan you join into a new sisterhood.

You thought your boys would wear white on Mother’s Day.

Like all the other children do when their mother passes away.

But the mothers are left.


What does some someone say to women of color who lost their children to police violence?

Happy Mother’s Day, Mama.

Dr. Candice Bledsoe is a faculty member at SMU's Simmons School of Education and executive director of the Action Research Center in Dallas, Texas. Her research explores equity, access, and the experience of underrepresented students in higher education. She has received numerous fellowships including: The National Endowment of the Humanities, the New Leadership Academy, National Center for Institutional Diversity, University of Michigan, and Boone Texas Project for Human Rights Education. Dr. Bledsoe is the recipient of the 2013 SMU Women’s Symposium Profiles of Community Leadership Award. Dr. Bledsoe received a Doctorate in Education from The University of Southern California.