CHICAGO (July 27, 2020) — Zakat Foundation of America, in partnership with Our Lady of Suyapa Sanctuary and Readi Chicago, a Heartland Alliance program, is taking to the streets. Armed with peace and prayer, mothers lift up their voices as people who have lost their children to police brutality, gathering August 8 at the Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington St., Chicago, IL, 60602).
“When George Floyd cried out ‘Mama!’ I thought of the bond between mother and child — a love like no other — and the idea of this march was born,” said Donna Neil-Demir, RN, health adviser for Zakat Foundation, a Chicago-based global development organization that has a 20-year track record of standing with the oppressed and serving the underserved.
Under the banner of Mothers United For Justice, the Saturday rally, slated for 10:30 a.m., will bring together mothers of all races and ethnicities who have lost children to police brutality.
“I know from my nursing experience how common it is for the dying to see or talk to their loved ones who’ve passed before them,” Neil-Demir said. “I’d like to think they are welcoming us to the other side with love. I thought how much George Floyd loved his mom and what a blessing if in fact he did see her as he was dying — and he was dying.”
Terminated, jailed and charged with murder, then Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin killed Floyd in broad daylight by kneeling on the handcuffed, subdued man’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds while Floyd begged for breath, said he was dying, and called for his mother, and while onlookers pleaded for Floyd’s life.
Police in the U.S. killed a shocking 1,099 people — about three per day — in 2019, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. There are no comprehensive official databases to track police violence in the U.S. due to police union lobbying, a sticking point for many racial justice and human rights advocacy groups.
African Americans account for 24% of those killed by police, according to Mapping Police Violence, though they represent just 13% of the U.S. population. The U.S.’s 33.5 civilian killings by police per 10 million population far surpasses the rates of comparable countries.
With 99% of these deaths occurring in the absence of proven charges, according to Mapping Police Violence, the mothers of those slain by police, both on- and off-duty, are left to mourn without redress or police accountability.
“The suffering of these mothers is real, is palpable,” said Neil-Demir, which is why Zakat Foundation will help these mothers air their grief and grievances.
WHO: Zakat Foundation of America, Heartland Alliance
WHAT: Mothers United For Justice Rally against Police Violence
WHEN: Saturday, August 8, 2020 at 10:30 a.m.
WHERE: Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., Chicago, IL, 60602