Family Matters Grief & Loss Motivation

Meeting Lezley McSpadden – A Weekend I Will Never Forget

Meeting Lezley McSpadden – A Weekend I Will Never Forget

read in: 29 min

By Ebony S. Muhammad

What do you say to a  woman, a mother, whose son was violently murdered at the hands of a police officer who was charged with serving and protecting that life? Whose son was allowed to lay on the ground in the middle of the street before the world for over 4 hours straight, exposed. And to add insult to injury, a mother who was disallowed to see or touch or hold her son who lay lifeless, by those charged to protect and serve the community?

On August 20th I was blessed with the opportunity to meet Lezley McSpadden, the mother of Mike Brown, face to face. I had the honor of looking into her eyes and embracing her.

But before this moment, I was given the opportunity to interview her over the phone to assist in promoting the release of her book, Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil, and to promote her book signing and keynote feature here in Houston.  Thank you to Brother Jesse Muhammad for the connection and blessing.

I admit, this was one of the few interviews that I was extremely nervous about, and I’ve interviewed many. I went over the questions numerous times. All I wanted her to know is that she is loved, supported, and had a safe space to open up about what the last two years have been like for her as well as to celebrate telling her story and her son’s story. Just as much, I wanted her to know she had a sister on the other end of the phone.

When she called and I heard her voice on the other end, “Hi, this is Lezley McSpadden”, I immediately dropped what I was doing. I thanked her for the interview, for her time and willingness to speak to me. I shared with her the message of Hurt2Healing magazine and its origins.  I wanted her to feel that she and this interview would be handled with care. Before we began we chatted for a moment about this being her first time visiting Houston. She shared that she was a little nervous, but said it was the excitement of being in the city for the weekend. She had been looking forward to this. We chatted for a few minutes and to hear her laugh was humbling after all she has been through. Her spirit was warm, authentic and transparent. Although I wanted her to feel comfortable, that brief conversation before we began helped me as well.

Of course I’ll always be myself, so throughout the interview I touched on various portions of her book that made us both laugh to bring ease and comfort as we discussed some of the painful aspects. There were a couple of times when Lezley became tearful discussing her son, and that was okay. She was free to express herself with laughter as well as tears.

It was a beautiful interview and one that I will always cherish!

Now to fast forward to the weekend she arrived for the women’s only gathering hosted by the Muslims Girls’ Training and General Civilization Class (MGT-GCC) and the conversation and book signing.

Both events were hosted at the Shrine of the Black Madonna, sponsored by Brother Jesse Blog and the Forward Times and attended by the entire community.

The women’s only gathering not only featured Lezley McSpadden, but three other mothers who lost their sons to violence. Each shared their testimony, what their sons were like, and how they each have been coping with the loss. The words shared by these mothers were indicative that although it had been years, the pain of injustice was still present. The gravest injustice was that they could never get their sons back, even if there were to be a conviction against their killers.

 

 


They shared how they have worked to transform their pain into positive outlets and how their sons gave them their purpose, standing with other mothers and creating a Village of Mothers. They each stated that it was a club they didn’t intend on being a part of. The panel mother offered words of encouragement to each other and to those in the audience who were also grieving.  It was truly a sight to behold, and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room.

I was taking it all in. Despite it being a women’s only event, I tweeted aspects of the gathering to social media to show the world what was taking place, to show the pain of these mothers that won’t be swept under the rug, to maintain the narrative that these injustices are tearing communities apart and to inspire us to show that Black lives matter to US first and foremost. There’s nothing like the love of a mother and there is nothing like seeing and feeling the pain of a mother who lost a child to senseless violence. No parent wants to bury their child, never!

What truly inspired to me that day and that entire weekend was meeting these mothers, speaking with them and feeling their spirit. There is an unspeakable strength that permeated from them all in the same fashion. It’s difficult to put into words, but some of you know what I mean. Like the interview with Lezley McSpadden, to hear and see these women smiling and stand before a crowd of strangers to tell their son’s story and how they’ve been dealing since the murders took place, was soul-stirring and one of the most powerful things I’ve ever witnessed. It has taken me a week to process what Allah blessed us to see and it will forever be ingrained in my mind, soul, heart and spirit.

Later that evening the official conversation moderated by Chelsea White and book signing with Lezley convened at the Shrine of the Black Madonna. This setting was slightly different than the all woman’s event earlier that day. There were two chairs on the stage for Lezley and Chelsea versus the panel set up. It would just be the two of them speaking very candidly.

Chelsea had a line of questions regarding the Lezley McSpadden’s book and personal questions stemming from the murder of her son, Mike Brown. It was like a fire-side chat that really allowed us into the mind and heart of Lezley that the media will never show us. The crowd was on the edge of their seats during the entire conversation. There were a few moments when Lezley became tearful responding to a few of the questions, which is more than understandable. Chelsea asked some powerful questions that really allowed us to know more of who Lezley is as a woman, mother and champion.

 

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There were live performances by artist Clché.

We also heard more from Sandra Sterling, aunt and mother figure of Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge.

I love these women, and I thank Allah for them standing in spite of the many forces coming against them to tear them down.  Lezley’s book has inspired many of the mothers to also write books about who their sons are. Tell The Truth and Shame The Devil is a MUST READ! Your perspective will be broadened, your eyes will be opened and your ability to understand how important our unity is will be deepened!

Sunday was just as beautiful! We hosted a special breakfast gathering for Lezley and her party. It was a small intimate setting with a few from the community, the event organizers from the MGT-GCC gathering, members from the Black Lives Matters Houston chapter and the Nation Of Islam. Gina, the owner of Kaffeine Coffee Office Cafe was the sponsor for this breakfast and provided and magnificent pallet of fresh fruits, yogurts, baked pastries, coffee, tea and more! It was an atmosphere of pure love, fellowship, photos, laughter and again LOVE!

Lezley and her party had a couple more stops to make before departing Houston. Later that morning she visited St. Joseph Church Downtown under the direction of Pastor Rudy Rasmus.

After visiting and speaking to the church and its members, she was taken to the book signing for the Black Lives Matter Houston chapter.

All in all, this weekend was one of the most memorable, heartfelt, inspiring and energizing! All praise is due to Allah!

A very special thank you to Lezley McSpadden, Sandra Sterling, Bertha Swift, Harolyn Minix, Village of Mothers for your courage, strength, love and resilience.

Another thank you to Brother Jesse Muhammad/Brother Jesse Blog, Jeffrey Boney and Karen Carter Richards of The Forward Times, Chelsea White, Valerie Muhammad (MGT-GCC) and Silky Slim for helping to make this weekend monumental!

 

Written By

Hurt2Healing

H2H Magazine is the ultimate lifestyle digital publication that has been described as inspiring, life-saving and cutting-edge. Known for it’s penetrating exclusive interviews, H2H holds to the principle that there are no subjects too heavy for discussion.

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