The list of speakers for the 2016 Democratic National Convention is heavy on people whose last name is “Obama” or “Clinton,” but the second day of the convention will feature a group of voices from outside the party’s power structure.
The convention’s schedule lists the group “Mothers of the Movement” as featured speakers on Tuesday, July 25, alongside former President Bill Clinton.
The group is made up of the mothers of black men, women and children whose deaths turned them into martyrs and inspired the Black Lives Matter movement. Of the seven victims, four were killed in encounters with law enforcement.
The women in the group include:
- Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, who died in a chokehold administered by an NYPD officer.
- Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, a teenager killed by Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.
- Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontré Hamilton, who was killed by a Milwaukee police officer.
- Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis, who was shot by a man at a Florida gas station for playing his music too loud.
- Lezley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown, who was killed by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer.
- Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, mother of Hadiya Pendleton, a Chicago teenager who was shot while in a park with friends.
- Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland, who died in a Texas jail after being imprisoned for a traffic violation.
Several of the women in the group previously appeared in an official campaign advertisement endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, saying she was the best candidate to make progress on police reform and preventing gun violence.
Having the “Mothers of the Movement” speak on the same night as Bill Clinton, however, is an interesting choice, given that the former president’s policies on welfare and crime have made him a particular target of that movement. He has also had several highly publicized and acrimonious encounters with protesters during the 2016 campaign. During one April speech, he defended his wife’s 1990s comments on black “superpredators” before uttering a truly bizarre line.
“I’ll tell you another story about a place where black lives matter,” Clinton said. “Africa.”
Clinton was back on stage the next day acting about as chagrinned as he has the ability to, saying he “almost wants to apologize” for the exchange. Given the upcoming convention schedule, he might want to hurry up with that apology.