BLACK VOICES

'Hero Mom' From Baltimore Riots Loses Home To Fire

Toya Graham, who smacked her son for participating in the Freddie Gray riots, is now trying to raise money.

A Baltimore mom who was proclaimed “mom of the year” after being filmed smacking her son for rioting over the death of Freddie Gray last year is back in the news, this time over tragedy.

On Saturday, Toya Graham and her family became homeless after her same teenaged son accidentally set their kitchen on fire, she told local media.

“You try to hold on, you try to do everything, you try to be strong for your children. But this is a lot,” she told Fox 45 News while standing in her burned home.

The mother of six said her 17-year-old son, Michael, was frying chicken in her kitchen when a grease fire broke out. It was intensified when he threw water on the flames.

A photo shared on a GoFundMe page for Toya Graham shows their destroyed kitchen following a grease fire.
A photo shared on a GoFundMe page for Toya Graham shows their destroyed kitchen following a grease fire.

The teen said he had only stepped away for a minute to use the bathroom, but when he returned smoke was everywhere.

“I grabbed a jug of water and threw it on the grease. And it started bursting out in more flames,” he told The Baltimore Sun.

The Red Cross responded to the scene on Saturday and helped the family move into a motel, Red Cross CEO Scott Salemme of the Greater Chesapeake region told The Huffington Post Wednesday.

Salemme said his workers will reconnect with the family later this week to “identify any gaps in their recovery.”

Additionally, the family has set up a GoFundMe account to further help their recovery. As of Wednesday afternoon, it’s raised $25,973 of the $5,000 goal.

Toya Graham is seen with her teenaged son, Michael, back in April. On Saturday Graham's family was displaced from a kitc
Toya Graham is seen with her teenaged son, Michael, back in April. On Saturday Graham's family was displaced from a kitchen fire.

Those funds are likely a saving grace for the displaced family, who said it’s been struggling to get by for some time.

Graham was dubbed a “hero mom” over the April 2015 video, which led to recognitions from President Barak Obama and stars like Oprah and Alisha Keys. It also came with promised job offers and scholarship opportunities for her son. Most of those offers fell through, she told The Sun last April. 

“I’m tired of the struggle. I feel broken,” she told Fox 45 News while fighting back tears.

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Baltimore Riots
CONVERSATIONS