A Love Not Blood Campaign Sponsored Panel
Rev. Wanda Johnson, Melina Abdullah, Beatrice Johnson, Krystal Brown, Deanna Joseph, Yolanda Banks Reed, Marian Gray Hopkins
Saturday, 5 p.m.
This panel will discuss the obstacles faced by families who have lost loved ones to State sponsored violence. The participants will unveil the failures of legislation, Victim Rights Law, police reform, and police oversight policies.
The women will discuss the current movement to analyze police violence as a public health issue, and the Peace Officers Bill of Rights. The goal is to paint an intimate and accurate portrait of the force trajectory these Mothers find themselves on after their loved one is killed by the police and the future of police killing.
Mothers will discuss the obstacles families face when their loved one is killed by State sponsored violence and unveil the failed legislation of Victim Rights Law, police reform, and police oversights that has allowed this type of violence to continue generation after generation. We will also discuss the current movement to analyze police violence as a public health issue, and the DOJ consent decree on police department. The goal is to paint an intimate and accurate portrait of the force trajectory these families find themselves on after their loved one is killed by the police and the future of police killing.
Rev. Wanda Johnson has become an amplified voice of empathy and compassion for individuals seeking justice, grieving, and healing from innocent lost lives by hands of law enforcement. Her beloved only son Oscar Grant III was murdered by a Oakland Bart transit officer on January 1, 2009.Her experience around the justice process, the media, and legalities around trial, strategy, and community work has become a key role nationally as she travels the world seeking justice for our communities world-wide. She works side by side with the mothers of Mike Brown, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and countless other families. This past April, Beyonce took to their solidarity in her special visual album, ‘Lemonade’ featuring some of all of the mothers including Wanda. The Oscar Grant tragedy was a re-awakening to taking an action for justice. Oakland’s demand for justice ignited a national movement demanding justice in all similar cases. Such publicity caught the attention of Forest Whittaker. In 2013, He produced hit film, ‘Fruitvale Station’, a story that humanizes Oscar Grant’s last day of life. She is CEO of The Oscar Grant Foundation, a 501(c)3, that helps at-risk youth, grieving families, students support and enrichment, education, and hunger. The Foundation also has it’s own AAU basketball team in honor of Oscar called, The O.G Ballers. Wanda hopes to also improve the social inequities caused by negative stereotyping in law enforcement. She is an international motivational speaker, established gospel minister, and makes monthly appearances around the world impacting hearts in similar struggles. A dynamic well-spoken activist she has made guest appearances on nationally syndicated television programs, at respected universities, and at public forums. She continues to bring attention to injustices that remain prevalent in law enforcement and the criminal justice system
Melina Abdullah is Professor and Chair of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles. She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Southern California in Political Science and her B.A. from Howard University in African American Studies. She was appointed to the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission in 2014 and is a recognized expert on race, gender, class, and social movements. Abdullah is the author of numerous articles and book chapters, with subjects ranging from political coalition building to womanist mothering. Professor Abdullah is a womanist scholar-activist – understanding the role that she plays in the academy as intrinsically linked to broader struggles for the liberation of oppressed people. Professor Abdullah is a leader in the fight for Ethnic Studies in the K-12 and university systems and was a part of the historic victory that made Ethnic Studies a requirement in the Los Angeles Unified School District. She was among the original group of organizers that convened to form Black Lives Matter and continues to serve as a Los Angeles chapter lead and contributes to the national leadership.
The Mawina Kouyyate Award 2015 Recipient and The Momz That Rock 2014 Recipient, Sister Beatrice X, aka Auntie B, is the wife of Uncle Bobby Johnson and the aunt of Oscar Grant. She is a member of the Nation Of Islam. She has been involved with activism since the early age of 10. Sister Beatrice first police terrorism activism case was at the age 22 years old. Auntie B was part of the activism and protesting behind Sagon Penn, twice acquitted in the shooting of two San Diego police officers in a racially charged case that sharply exposed the divide between the police and the Black community. Beatrice X is a community organizer, activist, and an extremely caring mother that bring love and emotional support to mother’s and family members. Sister Beatrice embodies completely and dynamically each and everyday, a beautiful spirit and a clear understanding, to her vision of the revolutionary path of Love by the spirit of African culture. If we all walk in her spirit we are sure to reach our objective as a organization that was founded to work with families that has suffered the traumatic experience of gun violence, whether by police officers, security officers, or community violence. Sister Beatrice works to bring about an atmosphere of social justice and family relationship throughout the United States.
Krystal K. Brown is a native of Deland, Florida. She received her A.S. degree in Occupational Therapy in 1998 and a Certificate in Practical Nursing in 2003. She is the mother of three, DeAndre, Armani and Marlon and the Wife of Marlon Brown Sr. She has always been a leader and an advocate for her community, Springhill, and the people that reside there. On May 8, 2013 the life of her family was forever changed when Marlon Sr. was killed by a Deland rookie police officer, James Paul Harris. Like many, she believed in the Judicial System and was confident that justice would prevail especially since there was a dashcam video that caught the entire incident as well as multiple eye witnesses. However, similar to many cases from around the country the case was presented to a grand jury and the result was “NO INDICTMENT!” Krystal immediately formed a team that began collecting and dissecting the evidence and after acquiring much knowledge about Marlon’s case it was clear that the Justice System was unjust. She has been traveling from state to state meeting other families that are fighting police brutality, researching and learning about policies and procedures that are in place and cause corruption of the system, speaking out on behalf of Marlon Brown Sr. and pursuing an opportunity for him to receive justice. She is the founder of, United 4 Justice, an organization that serves to bring awareness to individuals and families throughout the globe information on police brutality and personal rights. She is not afraid to stand up and call out those that misuse their power to control others and for their own personal gain. She has put the quote from Frederick Douglas, “It is easier to build strong children than repair broken men,” into action by working very closely to children from the community. Titling them “Hollywood’s Stars” and instilling in them that the sky is the limit and the possibilities are endless if they are willing to work for them. She is committed to helping her community obtain equal and fair treatment by city administration and local law enforcement. She ran for City Commissioner in Deland, Fl in 2014. Despite not being voted into office she used her voice and her platform to convey the concerns of the community and its citizens. Her voice has definitely been amplified by her ability and willingness to stand firm on the facts. In January 2016, Krystal was offered the opportunity to speak before the Expert Working Group from the United Nations. She spoke on the disrespectful dehumanization and criminalization of the victims of police brutality and their families by the United States and the lack of transparency and conviction of the crimes being committed against people of African descent. She was heard and Marlon’s name appears in the preliminary report that is being written to the United States Government. She is a 2016 award recipient of “Divas on Fire, All Women’s Award Show” for being a Community Activist.
Deanna Joseph of Tampa, FL is a mother, therapist and advocate acting on behalf of the rights of children, families and those of developmental disabilities. Mrs. Joseph a native of New Orleans, Louisiana prior to Hurricane Katrina earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Grambling State University and a Master’s Degree from Southern University of New Orleans and has engaged in practice within private, state and clinical settings. The acclamation of this experience has exceeded more than 20 years of services to the community and family system desiring her expertise. Mrs. Joseph in her work and cross country travels has acquired the knowledge and foresight to engage and foster advance conversations about a vast array of issues relevant to the Black diaspora and the resolve towards justice and accountability of her deceased 14 year old son Andrew Joseph, III failed by a multifaceted distorted system and the cohorts of many black families who are recovering from the mistreatment of their children by the criminal justice system and the school districts around the world. Mrs. Joseph life work and dedication has been to increase the visibility of a functional family life and the parenting of healthy children in this world of constant complexity.
Yolanda Banks – Reed is a mother and grandmother Teacher for the Hebrew cultural Community. Establishing network of Art & Soul Uniting creativity. She is an author of a book the guardian angel who had a loud voice. A producer of a movie entitled Inhumane, while completing her movie her son Shaleem Tindle was murdered by BART police. She now speaks for justice for Many mothers whose children been murderer Mothers Fight Back.
Marion Gray-Hopkins is a retired banking executive. She is a mother of three adult children, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren. In 2000 she began her work as an activist in the movement for justice, police accountability and transparency after the senseless killing of her unarmed 19-year-old son Gary Hopkins, Jr. in November 1999 by a Prince Georges County, MD police officer.
She is a member of the Prince Georges County Peoples Coalition, Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability (MCJPA) and is a core member of ONUS Inc National Victims of Police Brutality and Terrorism Committee. She was a core team member in organizing the Million Moms March in May 2015. She’s actively engaged with organizations such American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Code Pink, Progressive Maryland, Campaign for Justice, Safety and Jobs (CJSJ), A Mothers Cry, Families United 4 Justice, and Amnesty International. Her advocacy work has afforded her meetings with White House and Department of Justice Department officials to discuss needed changes. She is a recipient of the 2016 Washington Peace Center “No Justice No Peace Award”. Her activist work has led her to speak out on police terrorism locally, nationally and internationally; speaking in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil to support the “Beyond Borders” Conference and Kingston, Jamaica for “Broken but Not Destroyed Campaign. She co-founded and serves as the President of the Coalition of Concerned Mothers (COCM), comprised primarily of mothers whose mission is to stop police brutality, senseless community violence and mass incarceration while identifying and supporting policy and legislative change.
She has turned her pain into passion and power, becoming a catalyst for change.