Mothers Against Gun Violence and the Activist Buffer
Is Version Of
As the epigraph attests, knowledge production by women deserves increased attention; doing so contributes to better interpreting the domains and conditions of our lives. This broad claim may not seem controversial, yet marginalization of African American women’s perspectives continues within academic and popular discourse. One occasion when publics pay attention to African American women is upon the tragic deaths of their children. Specifically, mothers of urban homicide victims face important rhetorical moments that facilitate how individuals and urban communities respond to such violence. Local and national news media sponsor this response as well, as reports feature the reactions of victims’ mothers, placing them in the position of having to make meaning of their children’s deaths and thereby endow these children’s lives with value in a racist culture that devalues African American youth, the most likely victims of gun violence (Beard et al.; Ferdman; Light; Reeves and Holmes; Sugarmann). For the Mothers Against Gun Violence (MAGV) in Syracuse, New York, the organization at the center of analysis here, buffer rhetorics unite individual mothers’ experiences to form a communal activist identity.
This article is published as Dubisar, A.M., Mothers Against Gun Violence and the Activist Buffer. College English, vol. 80, no. 3, 2018, pp. 195-217. Posted with permission.