My son Matthew was fatally shot the summer after his junior year of college. He was a talented musician, a wrestler, and an honors physics and math student. At the time of his murder in 1994, I was a lifelong registered Republican, a registered nurse who specialized in public health and lived with my family in a gated community in conservative Orange County, California.
Lucy McBath of Georgia and Sybrina Fulton of Florida, two mothers whom I have never met yet know their pain of losing sons, recently declared their personal support for Hillary Rodham Clinton for the 2016 election.
Like Lucy and Sybrina, the mothers of Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin, I am with Hillary.
Hillary has a long history of standing with us mothers who have suffered the unimaginable grief of losing a child to a preventable public health crisis.
As First Lady, she marched along side of 750,000 mothers, others and me on the National Mall for the Million Mom March, Mother's Day 2000 - still the largest march to protest gun violence in U.S. history.
And, we moms have a long history of showing our support in return. Following that historic march, the newly formed Million Mom March chapters, a 501(c)(4) national organization, overwhelmingly voted to endorse Hillary in her race to become a United States Senator.
I remember vividly that autumn day in 2000 when we moms publicly declared our support for Hillary. I was the newly elected President of the Million Mom March chapters (now known as Brady/MMM chapters), and traveled to Westchester County to stand with New York State mothers, some of whom had their lives ripped apart too from bullets that riddled their children's bodies. Hillary had brought her mother Dorothy and her daughter Chelsea to listen to their stories with compassion and resolve. Hillary promised the mothers in attendance - from a police officer from Long Island to a stay at home mom from Manhattan to an oncology nurse from upstate New York - that she would be our voice in Congress.
Hillary heard us. And, her subsequent votes in the United States Senate reflect a promise kept.
She clearly understands that a strong national gun policy to keep guns out of dangerous hands protects all of our children no matter where they live, including New Hampshire. Children sometimes leave the state. To go to college. Or, perhaps like my Matthew, to take a cross-country adventure never to return home again.
The Brooklyn teenager who shot my son used a gun that made its way up north from a southern state with looser gun laws. Since that horrific day, I have been an advocate for stronger laws. It has not been easy. This work is a marathon, not a sprint. However, I know that Hillary has the fortitude to go the distance in an uphill race to save America's children from a gun culture run amok. That is why I personally endorse her as my choice as President of the United States.
Mary Leigh Blek,
Million Mom March President, Emeritus