Breonna Taylor's Mom Tamika Palmer and Tina Knowles Tear Up Discussing Heroes Act
By Rachel McRady
'CBS This Morning'
Tina Knowles, the mother of Beyoncé and Solange Knowles, joined forces with Tamika Palmer and Sybrina Fulton, the mothers of Breonna Taylor and Trayvon Martin, respectively, on Thursday to lend their voices to a good cause.
Tina has penned an open letter urging Congress to pass the Heroes Act, which helps to fund absentee voting and making voting more accessible. The subject of voter suppression has been at the forefront of the political conversation both with the limitations of the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing call for racial justice in America. Primary elections in Georgia and Kentucky have been widely criticized for limiting the polling places and keeping many voters, especially in minority communities, from the polls. Tina's letter has been signed by many celebrities including Viola Davis, Jada Pinkett Smith, Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, Beyoncé and more and has been on the desk of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell since May. It has also been backed by the mothers of Black children who have died like Breonna and Trayvon.
"I'm outraged like everyone else and I want to do my part. I'm not a politician. I'm not an activist in that public sense, but I feel like I have to do this," Tina explained on Thursday's CBS This Morning. She added that the bill will "supply gloves, it would supply masks, it would supply voting machines so that people are not in line because the longer you're in line, you're more apt to catch COVID."
Tina noted that it is hard for the members of the Black community to feel like their votes will make a difference because many feel like they haven't in the past.
"People have the feeling that their votes don't count, that their voices don't count," Tina added on the Today show. "So voting is the first way to make our voices heard and to show our power."
On CBS This Morning, Tina, who mentors young people, noted that she explains the importance of voting to her mentees on a regular basis.
"I think a lot of Black people feel that way. And how I connect the dots with them, if you vote, you vote for the mayor and the mayor hires the police chief and the district attorney and all the people in power to make those changes in your community," Tina explained. "So if you don't vote, you don't have a voice."
Tamika, whose daughter, Breonna, a 26-year-old EMT, was fatally shot by members of the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) on March 13, expressed the impact she's felt thanks to the support of Tina and many others.
"It's amazing to have so much support from so many different people and all over the world, people who don't know me and don't even know Breonna," Tamika said on CBS This Morning. "But they know that what happened wasn't right and that they're willing to stand and demand justice. I'm so eternally grateful to so many different people."
In March, three plainclothes officers executing a no-knock search warrant entered Breonna's apartment in Louisville, Kentucky. Breonna's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said he believed the officers were intruders, and gunfire was exchanged between him and the LMPD. Officers fired over 20 shots into the apartment, including eight shots at Breonna, who was asleep and unarmed when LMPD entered her residence.
"Of course I'm happy to hear that he was fired. He should have been fired," Tamika said. "It's just the beginning though. There's so much more to go. There's so many other people involved... somebody still has to answer for what happened to Breonna."
The grieving mother tearfully added that she misses her daughter's smile, saying, "She didn't deserve this and she would do anything for anybody."
Despite the immense loss the Black community has experienced, Tina told CBS' Gayle King that she feels hopeful for the future.
"It absolutely feels different. I think people's humanity is showing. When have you seen this many people out marching and our white brothers and sisters out marching and standing as shields for people?" she said, through tears. "I get emotional about it because my friends have supported and they've called and they've stepped up. I do feel like it can be a change, I really do. I have so much hope."
As for what she hopes to accomplish by going public with her push for the Heroes Act, Tina added on Today, "Our prayer is that this lights a spark and that everyone will be outraged that this bill has not been passed. And that it's so badly needed that other people will start letters."