The 'moms against police brutality' is out in front of the justice center tonight to protest escalating police violence in the streets of Portland. #PortlandProtest #PDXprotests #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/a5WE8VIk4G
— Portland Independent Documentarians (@PDocumentarians) July 19, 2020
On Saturday July 18th, a group of 30 moms, brought together by the Facebook event “Wall of Moms,” gathered outside the courthouse in Portland, Oregon to physically protect protesters by forming a human wall around them. The moms wore white as a sign of non violence, only to be attacked by tear gas and stun grenades a few hours later by federal officers.
The group was organized by Bev Barnum, a 35 year old Mexican-American mom of two. Angered by a viral video of unmarked federal officers taking protesters into cars without probable cause, she decided to take action. Barnum created the Facebook event “Wall of Moms,”calling other moms to join her in standing up and protecting those protesting. In the event description, Barnum states, “We moms are often underestimated. But we’re stronger than we’re given credit for. So what do you say, will you stand with me? Will you help me create a wall of moms?” The moms indeed showed much strength as they stood together protecting protesters from armed officials.
Barnum’s call for protection and mom power has effectively tugged at the heartstrings of other mothers across the nation. As news spreads about the Wall of Moms, mothers around the country are writing into the Facebook event page, showing their support and asking how they can help. The movement has also moved onto Twitter with their own account.
Although this is a great win for moms all around, members of the movement push to remind others that the focus is to protect protesters and Black lives. Wall of Moms participant Brenna Burnett, 29 year old business owner, told Buzzfeed News that “this is about Black Lives Matter. This isn’t about white women coming in to save the day.”
Tensions are high in Portland as protests have been continuing for 52 days since the murder of George Floyd. President Trump called in federal officers to control some of the protests, against the judgement of local public officials. The federal officers have been driving in unmarked vans, detaining protesters without probable cause. The officers have also been using methods of violence to disperse protesters such as tear gas, batons, and stun grenades, adding to the unrest of the city. Barnum stated to Buzzfeed that she was so angered by what she saw was happening in her city that she had to do something. “We will be out until no protester need protecting,” she said.
The moms came out again on Sunday to protect.
A crowd of about 400 has now occupied both SW 3rd and SW Main.
The moms are chanting, “Feds stay clear! Moms are here!” at the federal courthouse.
All three fences are still up. pic.twitter.com/jhJ09NUxGW
— Lindsey Smith (she/her) (@LindseyPSmith7) July 19, 2020
Moms are continuing the fight tonight, planning to wear yellow and hand out sunflowers. Their strength while remaining non-violent reminds us to never underestimate the power of a mother.