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‘Mothers of the Movement’ to end gun violence speak out

The mothers of seven African-Americans to die in gun violence were to take the convention stage in Philadelphia in a national call for gun control and police retraining. One of them is Florida’s Lucia McBath, whose 17-year-old son Jordan Davis was fatally shot for playing his music too loudly. She joins Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff to tell them why she thinks Hillary Clinton can change things.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    Jordan Davis was 17 years old when he was shot and killed in 2012. His assailant claimed Davis and his friends were playing their music too loud. His mother, Lucia McBath, and six other mothers who have lost children to gun violence will appear together on the convention stage tonight.

    We spoke with her a short time ago.

    Lucia McBath, thank you so much for joining us.

    LUCIA MCBATH, Mother of Shooting Victim: Thank you for having me.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Talk about your son. And talk about your reason for being on the stage tonight. We have been — our country has been so caught up in a discussion about law enforcement vs. police abuse. And even though your son wasn't a victim, wasn't quite in that mix, what — how have you been watching this unfold?

  • LUCIA MCBATH:

    Oh, well, it's been disheartening, of course.

    And what we're beginning to recognize is that, you know, gun violence is in many, many forms, you know, whether it's law enforcement on individual citizens, or if it's individual citizens that are gunning down law enforcement, or if it's just, you know, black-on-black crime. It comes in all forms.

    And it's very disheartening to continue to watch this evolve and erupt over and over and over again, because I know firsthand, as a victim of gun violence, what this does, not only to the victims, but to the families and their communities at large.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    You have chosen to endorse Hillary Clinton. You're here to support Hillary Clinton.

    She's running for president. So much of criminal justice, though, occurs — these decisions occur at the local level. What difference can a president make?

  • LUCIA MCBATH:

    Well, absolutely, a president has the heart of the people.

    And the president — we follow the lead of the president. If the president has a heart for what's happening in the nation, a heart for people, wanting to create and stimulate change for the better, preserving human life, then I believe policy will fall right in under the heels of the changes that the president puts in place for the nation.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    You talk about the — what the president can put in place. You are also involved in my Brother's Keeper Initiative at the White House.

    But I guess we who cover Washington sometimes see a lot of talk, and not a whole lot of action. And I just wonder why you think this might be different.

  • LUCIA MCBATH:

    Well, I know this will be different, because I know Secretary Clinton has been doing this work, championing for human and civil right within the communities and the nation at large. She's been doing this even before she became first lady.

    She's been doing it as Senator Clinton. She's been doing it as secretary of state. So her record is firm. And it stands to reason that she would continue to serve and do what she's been doing all along.

    So, I have hope. I know that she has — she's a great visionary. And I understand that she really is putting in place some good measures, solid measures that will really be of the best interests of the nation.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Gwen mentioned that this is more than just about the role of law enforcement, police.

    The Republican Convention, a big part of their message was they need to respect the role of police officers. How do you strike that balance between saying police need to not discriminate when it comes to dealing with black men and women, but, on the other hand, making sure there's a respect for the role of police?

  • LUCIA MCBATH:

    Well, I think it's a matter of retraining and reeducating on both sides, citizens within the community learning to respect — have a healthy respect and regard for police officers as our protectors.

    And at the same — the same measures, making sure that our police are reeducated, so that they're able to understand different cultures and races and ethnicities. And also, I think, too, that we should have police officers that actually live within those various communities that are serving those individuals.

    And I think that sets up a better environment for relation-building — relationship-building, bridge-building. And I think it's going to take a lot of effort within the community, constituents within the community, as well as the police enforcement, to really build those bridges. It's going to be a work on both ends.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    We saw Michael Jordan, the retired basketball player, trying…

  • LUCIA MCBATH:

    Yes.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    … to strike that balance yesterday with the million-dollar gift to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and a million-dollar gift to the chiefs of police. And it seems like that is the middle ground.

  • LUCIA MCBATH:

    Absolutely.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    I want to end here by asking you to tell us a little bit about your son, Jordan, and what he would think about you being such a public figure now.

  • LUCIA MCBATH:

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about Jordan, because I just — it helps me to keep him alive.

    Jordan was a child of inclusion. He loved everybody. He used to bring children together. I always say that the jock, the nerdy kid, the athlete, he brought them all together. Jordan wanted to make sure that everyone had the same rights, the same abilities to do and to live the way he was living.

    He was always the kind of child that wanted to include everyone. I say that, as a single mother for 13 years, I had an SUV full of kids all the time. And Jordan wanted to make sure that everybody was loved, accepted and forgiven.

    So, I think he would be proud of me, because I'm getting to walk out the very things I was trying to teach him.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And, finally, Lucia McBath, it seems important to you to keep this connection with the other mothers.

  • LUCIA MCBATH:

    Absolutely, yes.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And I guess be stronger as a group than you can be as one individual.

  • LUCIA MCBATH:

    Absolutely.

    And Secretary Clinton did say to us — I specifically asked her in that very first meeting that we had with her. I said: "I think you know that you have the support of all the mothers here. What is it we can do for you? What is it you would like us to do? What do you see for us?"

    And she said: "Individually, all of you are so strong, and you're all working within your communities and across the nation. It would be so powerful if you would come together as one united force for the movement in this nation."

    So, the campaign has deemed us the mothers of the movement. And we're very, very grateful to be able to act on her behalf for the nation.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Lucia McBath, one of the mothers of the movement, thank you so much for joining us.

  • LUCIA MCBATH:

    Thank you. Thank you for having me.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Thank you.

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