By Beverly Gadson-Birch
As we approach Mother’s Day, I am reminded of what some mothers go through for their children. Last Saturday, Timothy Taylor’s mom, Joanne, organized another march to free her son. Saturday’s march was the second by Timothy’s supporters to draw attention to his unjust imprisonment. If you have not been keeping up with the story, Timothy’s trouble began when he was charged with a robbery he did not commit. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. How many times have you heard “the hand of one is the hand of all?” Timothy tried to alert authorities about the robbery and for his cooperation he received probation.
The Feds think Timothy has information in the Brittanee Drexel’s kidnap and murder case. Drexel is the young lady from New York who was kidnapped from Myrtle Beach back in 2009 and murdered. Her body was never found. The case remains unsolved. To force a confession, the Feds, eager to solve the case, arrested Timothy on information gathered from a jailhouse snitch. Timothy and his father were implicated in the Drexel kidnapping by a jailhouse informant. Both had alibis. Timothy’s father was cleared of any charges in Drexel’s kidnapping; but the Feds feel Timothy knows something about the kidnapping and continues to hold him. This is a case of double jeopardy. The Judge is reviewing the case. In the meantime, Timothy’s mother continues to fight for justice for her son. That’s what a mother does; she will lay her life on the line to save her child.
Timothy’s case appeared on television, in newspapers and on Facebook. As a result, many persons and groups have joined Ms. Taylor in her fight to free her son. One of the more controversial groups is the new Black Panther Party. Several members of the Party marched Saturday alongside Ms. Taylor and one could be seen carrying a rifle. As alarming as it may have seemed to some of the marchers and bystanders, the Panther’s right to bear arms was protected. Some of Timothy’s supporters, who had gathered for the march, refused to march unless the Panthers leave their rifle behind. Among those refusing to participate in the march were Longshoremen, Pastor Thomas Dixon and National Action Network (NAN). Pastor Thomas Dixon, long-time community activist and strong advocate for gun reform, refused to participate in the march. Dixon serves on the National Board of Trustees for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Elder James Johnson, State Coordinator for National Action Network, did not attend the rally due to previous commitments, spoke out against weapons at any marches associated with his group. Elder Johnson said, “members of NAN were prepared to march in support of Timothy but refused to march with anyone or group associated with weapons”. Elder Johnson went on to say, “my organization does not support weapons at any protests we are involved in and we fully support Ms. Taylor in her efforts to free her son. NAN do not support anyone who carries weapons.”
Timothy’s mother, Joanne, wants her son home. It’s been a long journey for her and her husband. Timothy’s case is just one out of thousands. Joanne is not alone in her fight. Sunday is Mother’s Day and like so many mothers, she wants to be able to hug her son and hear him say, “Happy Mother’s Day” mom. It’s a wonderful experience to hear those words. It just does something to the heart to hear your child call you “mother”. Unless you have walked a mile in some of the mothers’ shoes who are fighting for justice, you will never understand what they are going through. She has lost her job because of the time involved in freeing her son. She has taken on the task of raising her grandson in the absence of her son. I don’t know about an incarcerated son; but, I do know about an absent son. My son is almost as old as water but the minute he comes home for a visit and calls me momma, it’s like he never left home. Wife or no wife, I am slobbering all over him.
Children, you really don’t know your mother’s struggle to get you to where you are. Like most mothers, Ms. Taylor patiently waits for the day her son walks through her doors and calls out “Momma, I am home”. Free Timothy Taylor!!!