When the flames are extinguished. When the rocks stop flying. When the dust settles. There is one video we may remember most from the Baltimore riots.
An angry woman, reportedly the mother of one of the rioters, slapping some sense into him and shouting at him to take off his mask and get out of there. He does.
Cynthia Hunafa volunteers at Creative Visions in Des Moines inner city. She is also a mother.
“I, I applaud that mother,” Hunafa said. “I feel everything. I know this is not…I can just sense ‘this is not how I raised you. Don’t you dare. There’s another way. There’s another way that you can handle this.”
Hunafa also noticed the respect other rioters have towards the mother as she removes her son.
“They know. They probably got a mother grandmother someplace waiting to do the same thing if their mothers or grandmothers saw them. They know,” Hunafa said.
Calvetta Berry of Mothers Against Violence smiles when she sees the video.
“Because his mama stood up and came and got his little self,” Berry said. “I used to know a lot of people like that. Back when I was growing up. Big mama’s of the neighborhood. My grandmother (was one). They didn’t play.”
Berry and Hunafa don’t condone the violence., but they understand it. They hope that people don’t forget what led to the riots, that another black man died in police custody. A thought that brings Hunafa to tears.
“I don’t want this nation to lose track of what happened to that young man,” Hunafa said. “I’m pretty much sick of all this myself. I have three sons that are grown thank God. And a daughter. Other friends of mine have lost sons. I’ve been to too many funerals. Enough is enough.”
Claire Rudison of the group “Status of African Americans” in Iowa says the problem is the same here as it is in the rest of the country. A feeling of hopelessness and injustice in black communities.
“Look, here in the state of Iowa, for every 1000 African American births there’s 720 that’s born out of wedlock here in this state,” Rudison said. “We’re number three in the nation for the per capita incarceration of blacks. We’re number 50 in the country for minority owned businesses.”
Hunafa says, in the middle of all this chaos, the mother in the video taking control of her son gives her hope. “That’s her child. She doesn’t want to see him locked up and handcuffed and probably burrying him at some point. That’s not gonna happen,” Hunafa said. “That’s what that mother’s doing. She’s reclaiming her son.”