A Mother’s Day Message From Our Executive Director

In February, I had my second child and have been reminded of how much mothers are able to endure. Childbirth, surviving on three hours of sleep, and round the clock feedings all take a physical toll. But it’s been my work at NPAP that has shown me the emotional strength so many mothers possess. 

When someone dies at the hands of law enforcement, they are often survived by their mother who is forced to grapple with the fact that her child died a violent, unnecessary, and premature death. In the wake of the unimaginable pain of losing a child, I see many of these mothers take on causes bigger than their own hurt to press for accountability and demand change. 

One of the most recent women I have encountered who embodies this remarkable maternal strength is our client Jennifer Bartie. 

Ms. Bartie’s son—Javon Kennerson—died in Catahoula Correctional Center as a result of LaSalle Corrections and Louisiana Department of Corrections failure to adequately treat his medical and mental health needs. .After everything Ms. Bartie has been through, her focus has been on how she can help prevent something similar from happening to someone else’s child. 

This Mother’s Day, we honor all of the inspiring mothers, who, like Ms. Bartie, have survived the loss of a child to police violence or the carceral system and are harnessing their love to protect other people’s children and their families from having to suffer a similar fate. They remind me that one of the most important ways we can express love for our children is to work to create a more just world for everyone. 

Photo credit: Jennifer Bartie

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