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Voices of Black Mothers United unifies Black mothers, fathers, siblings, community members, volunteers, business leaders, and faith leaders to work together to end violence in our communities.

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Voices of Black Mothers United Commitment Letter

Our children were murdered in our neighborhoods, but no one knows their names

When an unarmed black is killed by police, it is the subject of national outrage, but the number of these deaths is a fraction of the number of blacks who are killed each day within their own neighborhoods by other blacks. Many of these victims are increasingly children. The voices of the mothers of these fallen children are seldom given a chance to express views and opinions about what must be done to address this crisis. This is about to change.

It’s time to stop the senseless violence

Let us show the way

Who We Are

Voices of Black Mothers United (VBMU) is a national movement of mothers who have lost their children to street violence. A project of the Woodson Center, it was created to raise public awareness of these tragic deaths, provide mutual support, and collaborate with law enforcement and community members to make our neighborhoods safe and peaceful once again.

We strongly oppose demands to defund the police, who still have a critical role to play. Instead, we are committed to responsible and sensible reform to address discriminatory and excessive tactics.

What We Do

Our work honors the lives of our children and loved ones who were violently murdered in our communities. Our efforts include fortifying relationships between national/grassroots organizations, law enforcement agencies, and individuals who are working to build programs that will directly benefit and revitalize our communities. VBMU will have a chapter leader in each state, and the state chapters will work together to reinforce each other’s efforts as we train local groups within the cities.

One of the major issues we will address is the insensitivity or lack of information among the public about the number of young blacks who are victims of violence every day. Many mothers who are working through the trauma of their loss are now empowering others to tell their story. Some on the outside may consider homicides of black children and violence in our communities to be intractable and think that the best they can do is to convey their sympathy. But sympathy is no substitute for support, and the difference between the two can mean our survival.

Street violence claims a second tier of victims: the parents who struggle to go on after experiencing the death of a child. Studies have shown that 26% of parents die within the first 10 years after experiencing that trauma and 92% of marriages fail. The emotional blow associated with the loss of a child can trigger a wide range of psychological problems including depression and anxiety as well as cognitive and physical symptoms that are linked to stress, marital problems, increased risk for suicide, physical pain, and guilt.

Areas of Focus

Voices of Black Mothers United will pursue initiatives in three primary arenas: Advocacy, Family and Community Intervention, and Promoting Positive Policing.


VBMU will organize national advocacy groups consisting of VBMU members and trained leaders, with an initial focus in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. Advocacy initiatives will be developed to help the surviving family members of victims of violence to cope and heal. Elements will include a first-responders’ team, media/communications training, financial assistance, state victim compensations resources, mental health resources, and legal guidance, and community volunteers will be recruited from faith-based organizations, businesses, and social services.

Family and Community Intervention

VBMU will promote individual responsibility and the understanding that “A safe neighborhood starts with YOU taking action.” VBMU will work with community leaders and law-enforcement to identify neighborhood risk factors that could contribute to a violent environment, such as a high level of transiency and economic and educational disadvantage. We will actively encourage shared problem-solving efforts within neighborhoods and communities, including crime tip lines, neighborhood watch programs and online crime awareness measures. In addition, VBMU will develop community events to facilitate dialogue between communities and law enforcement to encourage positive relationships and communication.

Promoting Positive Policing

Having witnessed surges in crime and violence in the absence of law-enforcement, members of VBMU strongly oppose efforts to defund the police, while working to counter discriminatory policing and excessive and irresponsible law enforcement tactics. We will introduce solution-based initiatives that encourage law enforcement and communities to come together to enforce accountability for all. A Community-Police Task Force will be created in VBMU member states and cities. This task force will make recommendations for measures to ensure responsible policing such as random mental-health checks for police, sensitivity training, and diligent follow-up on 119 complaints. VBMU will introduce a National 119 Hotline for community members to anonymously report verifiable bad and/or discriminatory policing in their neighborhoods.