A nearly half-hour primetime block of the Democratic National Convention was dedicated to amplifying Hillary Clinton’s positions on criminal justice reform—first with speeches from former Attorney General Eric Holder and Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay, then with a joint appearance by a group of seven women who lost children to gun violence and fatal police encounters. Speaking on their behalf were Geneva Reed-Veal, Lucia McBath, and Sybrina Fulton—the mothers of Sandra Bland, who committed suicide in a Texas jail cell in 2015 after being pulled over for an illegal lane change; Jordan Davis, who was killed in a gas station by a man who was mad about his loud music; and Trayvon Martin, who was shot by a vigilante in 2012 while walking through a gated community.
The women spoke with arresting poise about the sorrow they’ve endured as a result of gun violence and the blunt force of the criminal justice system. They also testified to Clinton’s seriousness about tackling the issues they’ve devoted their lives to since the deaths of their children, and her willingness to listen to their pain when her campaign brought them together for a dinner in Chicago last November. “Hillary Clinton isn’t afraid to say black lives matter,” said McBath.