"I decided to take a stance," she said. "Not only for all of the lives that we have lost from police brutality but for our children's future!"
Content warning: This story mentions of racism and police brutality that readers may find disturbing
Systemic racism and police brutality towards members of the black community has long been a widely known issue in America. Time after time, black mothers have had to watch their children become victims of racism and live with the burden of knowing that their child was killed solely because of their race while society simply watched. So when George Floyd called out to his deceased mother as he lay immobilized on the pavement with a police officer's knee crushing his neck, it hit all mothers of black men. Floyd's dying words "Momma! Momma! I'm through," became the force that released a battle cry for accountability and justice.
"There are moments when it feels like life hangs in the balance, and in those moments, we want to go back to the beginning, when we were known." https://t.co/6EMkfkLZg6— National Geographic (@NatGeo) June 2, 2020
When Thema—a mother of two black sons—heard Floyd's call for his mother, she lost her sleep. Angered by the history of violence towards black men like her sons, she showed up to a protest in Washington D.C. on Wednesday with the group Freedom Fighters D.C. with a powerful message. A striking photograph of Thema at the demonstration shows her wearing a face mask and exposing her pregnant belly while holding up a sign that reads: We are NOT carrying for 9 months, Then struggling during labor for 9 hours just for you to kneel on their neck for 9 minutes!! Black Lives Matter.
Posting the photograph on Instagram, Thema wrote: I SAID WHAT I SAID‼️ Speaking to TODAY about her powerful message, she explained, "The sign was my idea. For the past few nights, I could not sleep. I have been staying up all night with George Floyd heavy on my heart. The video of his death and hearing him cry out for his mother will forever be embedded in my head. I truly believe that when Mr. Floyd called out for his mother, all mothers were summoned, of all ages."
"My children are my world, we vow to protect them at all times," she continued. "It is every mother's worst fear to get that call. It genuinely angered me just to know that we carry these babies, these black men in our wombs for nine months, experiencing troubles the entire time such as excessive vomiting, weight loss, weight gain, blood clots, hair loss, kidney swelling and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Then the drastic pain of labor, some of us are in labor for nine hours and some are even in labor for 30 hours. Some women even come close to death during labor by excessive blood loss or difficulties and so much more for hours!"
"Then for someone who vowed to protect and serve the people of all colors, just easily take our baby's lives in nine minutes! Eight minutes and 46 seconds to be exact with no remorse or hesitation! That alone called me to the front line to stand up for our children. Enough is enough, new laws need to be in place and true justice needs to be served!" the 26-year-old stated. Thema revealed that she was treated with respect from those around her during the protest. "I decided to take a stance," she said. "Not only for all of the lives that we have lost from police brutality but for our children's future!"
Baby George Floyd and his divine mother. Two angels 💙💙💙 pic.twitter.com/8HAkvd9J1T— Cyn Santana (@Cyn_Santana) May 31, 2020
"As soon as I walked up to the protest, everyone was very peaceful. Food and water were provided and everyone there was also ready to take their stance to make a difference. There were thousands of people and everyone there made sure that I was not only protected but that I was also hydrated. During the march, it was made very clear that we do not condone violence," Thema recounted.