Welcome 2021 MAPB Legacy Fellows!
All of us at Mothers Against Police Brutality are pleased to introduce our very first group of Fellows in the MAPB Fellowship Legacy Program. These leaders, from 10 different U.S. cities, were selected out of more than 150 applicants nationwide. Each of these women has been directly impacted by police violence, and they have emerged as change agents for justice in their home communities. We look forward to working with and supporting these brave, fighting Mothers to increase their leadership, as they become catalysts and participants in the broader movement to end police brutality in America
Janet Baker is the Mother of Jordan Baker, who at age 26 was killed by an off-duty Houston police officer in 2014. Ms. Baker is a former Human Resources Generalist/Business Partner professional in the oil and gas industry. Suddenly faced with the tumultuous changes and losses from the police murder of her only child, Janet made it her new life mission to be a part of the change needed to end the extrajudicial killings of unarmed men and women. Her efforts have taken her to meetings at the White House during the Obama administration; marches in Washington DC, New York, and Houston; and fighting to win “Justice for Jordan” and for other families around the country who have tasted the bitter reality of our broken justice system. Janet became a producer and host of a local radio show, “Journey to Justice with Janet Baker.” Despite her grief and the apparent uphill battle, she’s forging ahead, facilitating changes in the hearts and minds of those listening, all the while tackling the societal biases that lead to injustice. “In the end,” Ms. Baker often says, “the truth will prevail.”
Montye Benjamin is the Mother of Jayvis Benjamin, who was killed by police in DeKalb County, Georgia in 2013. Ms. Benjamin is a “Mother on a mission” – seeking justice for her son – a mission that was forced upon her to clear her son’s name. On January 18, 2013, Jayvis was unarmed, when he was shot and killed by Sergeant Lynn Thomas of Avondale Estate Police Department in Dekalb County, Georgia. Ms. Benjamin struggled for 8 long years to get justice for her son, even after the District Attorney refused to prosecute a grand jury indictment in 2016; even after Sgt. Thomas on September 2, 2017 became Chief of the department, skipping rank, with no true certification only assignment by the Avondale Estates City Government. The promotion date itself – September 2, Jayvis’s birthday – added insult to a mother’s grief. But finally, on September 21, 2021, Chief Thomas was forced into retirement because he was unable to be re-certified for the Chief position; the city manager who had promoted him was also forced to resign. Montye Benjamin is a Mother of three and a grandmother of five. She is an Operations Manager at FedEx, in Ellenwood, Georgia, and a Clinically Trained Medical Assistant. She serves as Executive Director of Georgia Moms United, Inc, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Deborah A. Bush is the aunt of Marquise Jones, who was killed in 2014, who was shot in the back by an off-duty San Antonio police officer. Ms. Bush is a community activist with the Reliable Revolutionaries of San Antonio and a member of Texas Organizing Project (TOP). In the Reliable Revolutionaries, she serves as the Family Liaison, and with TOP she is on the Right to Justice Campaign. She has testified numerous times at the Capitol in Austin on proposed state legislation, including the George Floyd Act (2021). She has been active in the Movement since 2014, after the death of her nephew.
Adrienne Hood is the Mother of Henry Green V, who was murdered by two Columbus, Ohio, plain clothes police officers June 6, 2016. Never imagining this would be a part of her journey, it didn’t take her long to realize she was in for the fight of her life. Coming to the realization that this system is full of orchestrated evils, Adrienne knew she would have to depend on God like never before.
She has been advocating for change not only for the wrongs in her son’s case, but for her community. She’s fighting for changes to qualified immunity and other legislative changes to hold officers accountable. Ms. Hood has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration and a Masters of Arts degree in Human Services with a minor in Christian Ministries. She is also a Grief Recovery Specialist with the Grief Recovery Institute.
Kathy L Scott-Lykes is the Mother of Jarvis Scotti Lykes who at the age of 35 was killed by a Georgia state trooper in 2017. Married to her husband of 40 years, Joe Lykes, Ms. Scott-Lykes is also Mother to two daughters, Jeneshia Tonette Lykes and Shanise Michelle Scott. She is also a U.S. Army veteran. Her goal at enlistment was to have been a career soldier, but this plan was short lived when she was injured in the 1991 Desert Storm/Desert Shield Persian Gulf War. After being honorably discharged, Ms. Scott-Lykes was employed for thirteen years as Director of Operations for two separate security companies, Regent Security Company and Universal Protection Service.
The trooper who killed Jarvis was never charged, indicted, convicted, or sentenced. Speaking at a rally in 2020, Ms. Scott-Lykes lifted up memories of Jarvis and the impact of his murder to the assembled crowd: “My son was humble, he was so loving and generous. He had four children. His children were his world and to this day they are still having to deal with this scar.” Now retired and a homemaker, she continues to fight for justice daily with her boots on the ground.