Baltimore Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby Pays Homage to the “Warrior Women” Who Came Before Her in NAACP Empowerment Forum Speech.
Baltimore Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby rose to national prominence in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black Baltimore man, who was arrested and suffered spinal injuries after being placed in a police van. Gray died a week later, sparking protests throughout the city. Mosby, whose mother, father, and grandfather have all served as police officers, made the decision to charge all six officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray. The charges ranged from manslaughter and assault to misconduct in office and false imprisonment.
Mosby spoke passionately of the challenges she faced when she first made the decision to run for office, in an uplifting speech at an NAACP empowerment forum in Philadelphia over the weekend.
“I was told I was too inexperienced, that I couldn’t raise enough money, that my decision to run could not only disrupt but potentially destroy my husband’s political career,” she recalled.
“For me, as a young black woman, to run against an older white male incumbent, powerful, with the ability to raise close to a million dollars, the skeptics wanted to know: how could I have the audacity?”
At the age of 35, Marilyn Mosby is the youngest chief prosecutor in any major city in Ameirca.
Mosby also channeled womanist, and radical feminist Audre Lorde, by paying homage to the “warrior women” who paved the way for her.
“I tell you my story not to brag or to boast. I tell my story, I share my testimony, because I recognize that I got to where I am today not because of my own doing but because of the blood, sweat, tears and sacrifices of the audacious warrior women who have come before me, who lived their lives by example for all of us.”
In the late 1970’s, Lorde famously delivered the short essay “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action” to the Modern Language Association’s “Lesbians and Literature” panel.
Your silence will not protect you. But for every real word spoken, for every attempt I had ever made to speak those truths for which I am still seeking, I had made contact with other women while we examined the words to fit a world in which we all believed, bridging our differences. And it was the concern and caring of all those women which gave me strength and enabled me to scrutinize the essentials of my living.
The women who sustained me through that period were Black and white, old and young, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual, and we all shared a war against the tyrannies of silence. They all gave me a strength and concern without which I could not have survived intact. Within those weeks of acute fear came the knowledge – within the war we are all waging with the forces of death, subtle and otherwise, conscious or not – I am not only a casualty, I am also a warrior.
Like Lorde, Mosby also addressed the black women of the NAACP directly, urging them to use their voices and to continue to fight.
“…we, as women, must cast our shame, our pride, our egos aside and continue to pass on our testimonies, our tried and tested journeys, to the generations coming behind us.”
“Ladies, we have work to do and the time is now.”