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.” In October 2020, out of more than 150 applicants, Janet was chosen to be a 2021-22 Mothers Against Police Brutality Legacy Fellow.
Sheila Banks understood her mission to serve at an early age. Born in Florida, with 30-plus years in her professional roles, she has held corporate management positions at various companies. She credits any measure of success to her faith-centered upbringing. After a prolific career in corporate America, she made a major life change and began to focus her efforts on community service. On October 18, 2015, she lost her dear Corey Jones to police brutality. Corey, a youth counselor and musician, was waiting for a tow truck after having car trouble in Palm Beach Gardens, when a plainclothes police officer shot him six times. The killing of her nephew/godson was life-changing for Sheila. She was forced to add “activist” to what she believes is her life’s calling. She was a character witness in the murder trial. Sheila became a key organizer in the five-year battle in seeking justice for Corey. Her perseverance, supported by her family and community, led to conviction of the officer on charges of manslaughter by culpable negligence and attempted first-degree murder with a firearm – and a 25-year sentence. Sheila has dedicated her life to community service, volunteering and supporting various organizations. She is the Founder and CEO of Anita Banks & Corey’s Legacy Foundation (ABC Legacy Foundation). Sheila continues her work for justice, currently seeking support in Congress for a bill in Corey’s honor, H.R. 1787, the Corey Jones Act. In October 2020, out of more than 150 applicants, Sheila was chosen to be a 2021-22 Mothers Against Police Brutality Legacy Fellow.
Montye Benjamin is the Mother of Jayvis Benjamin, who was killed by police in DeKalb County, Georgia in 2013. Ms. Benjamin became 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 was shot and killed by Sergeant Lynn Thomas of Avondale Estates Police Department. Ms. Benjamin struggled for 9 long years to get justice for her son. She persisted even after the District Attorney refused to prosecute a grand jury’s recommended indictment in 2016. She persisted even after Sgt. Thomas on September 2, 2017, became Avondale Estates Police Chief, skipping rank, with no true certification only assignment by the Avondale Estates City Government. The promotion date itself – September 2, her son’s birthday – added insult to a mother’s grief. But finally, on September 21, 2021, Chief Thomas was forced into retirement after the department under his leadership disastrously failed a state accreditation review. 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. In October 2020, out of more than 150 applicants, Montye was chosen to be a 2021-22 Mothers Against Police Brutality Legacy Fellow.
Jeralynn Q. T. Brown-Blueford is the Mother of Alan Blueford, who at age 18 was killed in 2012 by an Oakland, California, police officer. Ms. Brown-Blueford is the Co-Director of the Alan Blueford Center for Justice and the Co-Founder of the Alan Blueford Foundation. Both institutions were founded in the aftermath of Alan’s death. The officer who killed Alan had not activated his body camera during the deadly encounter; the facts in the shooting were disputed by the family and numerous witnesses; but he was never charged or tried. A mother of three children, Jeralynn has always had a heart for people. Since her teen years, she has worked in healthcare and social/community services. She is a well-known community organizer and activist in Oakland, often called upon to speak at rallies, social justice panels, and local government meetings. After Alan was killed, Jeralynn went back to school, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in theology and her Master’s Degree in Divinity. Ms. Blueford works as an ordained minister and certified chaplain. Jeralynn has taken her pain and turned it into a purpose for healing broken hearts. She travels widely in the United States and abroad, speaking out against police brutality – and speaking out for prison reform, women’s rights, social justice, affordable housing, and fair wages. In October 2020, out of more than 150 applicants, Jeralynn was chosen to be a 2021-22 Mothers Against Police Brutality Legacy Fellow.
Deborah A. Bush is the aunt of Marquise Jones, who was killed in 2014, 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. In October 2020, out of more than 150 applicants, Deborah was chosen to be a 2021-22 Mothers Against Police Brutality Legacy Fellow.
Rosie Chavez is the aunt of Jacob Dominguez, who was unarmed when a San Jose police officer killed him in 2017. Ms. Chavez is herself the youngest of five children and the first person in her family to go to college. A single mother of three boys, Chavez is a San Jose City College alumna, earning a certificate of completion in Alcohol and Drug studies. For 17 years, Rosie was a Program Coordinator, Drug Alcohol Counselor, and Mental Health Peer Mentor in San Jose. She works today with Silicon Valley De-Bug, a community organizing, advocacy, and a multimedia storytelling organization based in San Jose, as an expression of her ambition to create social change after police killed her nephew. A young father, Jacob was profiled by law enforcement because of his background. Right before he lost his life, Jacob participated in a documentary where he was quoted saying, “My hope for this film is when people see someone like me, they see the good.” Rosie’s current role as Participatory Defense/Community Release Project Organizer with De-Bug allows her to answer Jacob’s calling “to see the good” in a broader way – to uplift the good in individuals facing charges in the criminal justice system and to empower families in support of their loved ones, drawing on the extensive network of services and resources she has built in the South Bay. In October 2020, out of more than 150 applicants, Rosie was chosen to be a 2021-22 Mothers Against Police Brutality Legacy Fellow.
Adrienne Hood is the mother of Henry Green V. Her oldest son, Henry was a bright, healthy, and funny young man. He believed in family and protecting his family. Henry was walking with a friend back to his aunt’s house on June 6, 2016, when two plainclothes officers in an unmarked vehicle began to harass him and ultimately shot and killed him. There was no reason for them to engage initially with him at all, but they did and at the end of it, Ms. Hood’s son was murdered. The officers involved were never criminally charged. Ms. Hood remembers, “The witnesses all said they shot at my son first! Not one witness heard the police identify themselves. Henry had every right to defend himself from these strangers bearing down on him.” But the officers involved were never criminally charged, never indicted. Ms. Hood led her family through two “wrongful death” civil cases against the officers. The first ended with a hung jury. At the second trial, the jury deliberated for less than two hours before finding the officers not guilty, based on “qualified immunity,” a judicial doctrine which unjustly shields bad cops from accountability in cases of wrongful death and excessive force. She decided not to continue appeals in court. But, in honor of Henry, in memory of her son, Ms. Hood continues to advocate for changes to the qualified immunity doctrine and other legislative changes needed to hold officers accountable. In October 2020, out of more than 150 applicants, Adrienne was chosen to be a 2021-22 Mothers Against Police Brutality Legacy Fellow.
Dalphine Robinson is the mother of Jabril Robinson. Jabril was killed by Clayton County Police in 2016, at age 23. A mother of five, Ms. Robinson has worked as a customer service representative for 15 years. After losing her son to police murder, she became more involved in community activism. She has been working for change, for social justice, especially when it comes to law enforcement, most recently as co-founder and vice-president of Georgia Moms United. GMU is a non-profit organization that supports families that have been affected by police brutality. Ms. Robinson has also become involved in legislation, advocating for bills on criminal justice reform, and she travels state to state in support of many families that have been affected by police brutality. Marching in Atlanta a year after George Floyd’s murder by police, Ms. Robinson said, “Unfortunately, a lot of these families didn’t get the luxury of having their loved ones murdered on video. So, we have to come out and stand and speak for our loved ones. This is why Georgia Moms United came about.” In October 2020, out of more than 150 applicants, Dalphine was chosen to be a 2021-22 Mothers Against Police Brutality Legacy Fellow.
Kathy L. Scott-Lykes
Kathy L. Scott-Lykes is a U.S. Army Veteran, and the mother of 35-year-old Jarvis Lykes, who was murdered by Georgia State Trooper Michael Nolen on December 29, 2017, in Columbus, Georgia. Jarvis, her only son, was the father of three daughters and a son. Ms. Scott-Lykes has joined other mothers and families impacted by police violence and brutality, actively seeking justice and accountability for all lost loved ones in Georgia. Facing her son’s untimely and tragic death, and the fact that the state trooper who killed Jarvis was never charged, indicted, convicted, sentenced, or held accountable in any way, Kathy turned her pain and heartache into passion and purpose to become Jarvis’s powerful voice, presence, and legacy. Kathy spends most of her time protesting, traveling, and speaking on behalf of her son as well as speaking on the injustice of police impunity, reform changes, and abolishing Qualified Immunity with local, state and federal elected officials in Georgia. She is an activist, organizer, and advocate that helps provide support to impacted families struggling to face the harsh reality and challenges of losing their lost loved one to police violence. Ms. Scott-Lykes is a board member with Georgia Moms United, a member of Moms of Georgia, an appointed liaison for the Cordale Q Handy Remembrance of Me Foundation, and a member of Black Voters Matter West Central Georgia Chapter. Kathy’s motto is a searching question, “Does It Have To Happen To You, To Matter To You?” In October 2020, out of more than 150 applicants, Kathy was chosen to be a 2021-22 Mothers Against Police Brutality Legacy Fellow.
Anita Wills is the grandmother of Kerry L. Baxter, Jr., who was killed in 2011 in Oakland, California. Ms. Wills is a published author and community activist with the Ella Baker Center’s Healing to Advocacy Program. She is a Communities Transforming Policing Fund (CTPF) Participatory Board Member at Borealis Foundation, and Policy Outreach Leader for Alameda County Fair Chance For Housing. In 2012 Ms. Wills organized a March and Protest for Trayvon Martin in San Francisco to coincide with the March in New York City. Ms. Wills’ activism focuses on ending the systematic abuse and murder of Black and Brown people at the hands of law enforcement; ending human rights violations of Black and Brown people; and winning justice for her grandson Kerry, specifically prosecutions of his killers. Among her other wide-ranging activist work, Ms. Wills organized and presented a workshop for the First Convening (2015) of the Movement 4 Black Lives in Cleveland, Ohio; she participated in the Ferguson Protests (2014); and she has organized numerous forums and protests throughout California and the nation. In October 2020, out of more than 150 applicants, Anita was chosen to be a 2021-22 Mothers Against Police Brutality Legacy Fellow.