Kristen Lundy stood with a megaphone outside the Department of Justice in D.C. on Friday. As hundreds of attendees in the March on Washington passed, she asked them to stop and listen to the stories of mothers who had lost their children to police violence.
And to hear their message: every case matters.
Lundy, director of Frederick United, and her nine fellow group members were among the more than 50,000 who joined in the capital on Friday to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the first March on Washington, and to demand racial justice and police reform.
Frederick United teamed up with the national group Every Case Matters to deliver their own demand. They want all cases of police brutality in the Department of Justice reopened.
The groups first collaborated on Thursday afternoon in front of the DOJ, when about 10 mothers with Every Case Matters told their personal stories of losing children to police or community violence.
Founder Ishtyme Robinson first developed the organization in 2015 in the hopes of focusing more on the larger issues of police brutality and community violence — which she collectively deems effects of systemic racism — rather than individual cases.
The problem, she said, with only focusing on specific cases such as that of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor is that it allows people to individualize the issue. Some people might say it was “just one bad incident” or “one bad cop” instead of looking at the whole issue. She lost her daughter to police brutality in 2010, she said, and her case has since been dismissed. While she knows she probably won’t ever get justice for her daughter, she said she wants to bring justice to all.
She’s seen throughout the years that there are so many people with stories of police brutality that they are constantly fighting each other to be heard.
“Why fight for one spot when every one matters?” Robinson said.
Lundy became involved with Every Case Matters through a mutual friend. Frederick United joined the cause by joining the group at their annual event on Thursday, where they shared their stories outside the DOJ, and delivered their petition of nearly 100,000 signatures, asking for cases to be reopened.
Members of Frederick United also passed out fliers for the event at the March on Washington on the National Mall earlier Friday morning.
Urbana High School senior Lindzie Gordon said she wanted to come out with Frederick United to see something bigger, and hopefully bring some of that energy back to Frederick County.
“I wanted to feel the community because at home we don’t really see a lot of support,” she said. “And this showed a lot of support.”
At the event outside the DOJ, Women such as Burnett McFadden spoke about their experience losing multiple children. McFadden lost three sons to community violence in the Baltimore area. She doesn’t see a lot of women who’ve experienced the loss of multiple children represented in the media.
“We’re like the voice that’s gonna bring them out,” she said, “because they don’t want to talk.”
At the end of the event, Lundy asked the crowd for more support on the local level. While she’s glad that thousands of people showed up to the march, she wants people to also have that same fire in their own communities, such as Frederick County.
“It’s great for us to have all these separate actions but we need to come together. There’s no reason why somebody like Al Sharpton should be able to come into our area and do this for us,” she said. “It should have been us.”