Being a mother is both a blessing and a burden. But being a Black mother is becoming more like a high-risk security detail in the middle of a deadly war zone. Children are supposed to bury their mothers, but these days, the reverse is happening far too often.
The documentary, “Mothers of No Tomorrow,” is an intimate look at the journey American mothers are taking through the silent war that is being waged in urban America. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice unflinchingly show the magnitude of this tragedy on U.S. soil, especially when compared with war. Data from the last two U.S. wars shows that 6,754 American soldiers were killed (including 2,019 soldiers in Afghanistan since 2001 and 4,735 soldiers in Iraq since 2003). Domestically, statistics show that more than 7,000 Black people are murdered in this country every year. During the nine and a half years the U.S. has been at war overseas, about 67,000 Black people were murdered here at home.
Film director Nicholas “Sixx” King calls it “American genocide.”
“‘No Tomorrow’ highlights three mothers that are a representation of the over 100,000 mothers who have lost their children to violence,” explains King. “This film follows three mothers who have lost their children — two are from Philadelphia, one is from Atlanta — and one mom throughout the film allowed us to photograph her for 48 hours after her son was murdered, and onward for the last 15–16 months. So you get a really up close and personal point of view and back-story of what mothers go through. There is one thing to deal with the murders, but then there are the after-effects of the murders. That’s what the film shows: what mothers are really going through.”
The perpetrators of this deadly “friendly fire” are other young Black men. Most of these homicides were committed by Black men primarily in the 17-44 year-old age range, against other Black men in that same age group. That means many Black men in America are being put six feet under before they can even reach the age of 50.
“I really wanted to give the mothers a voice,” said King. “No one really investigates the after-effects of murder. Some moms are suicidal, some end up on drugs, or are depressed. It’s just a variety of things, and with 73 percent of African-American households headed up by women, when you destroy moms, you destroy the entire family. It is a catastrophic domino effect.”
There will be a film screening and director’s talk: “Mothers of No Tomorrow,” Wednesday Oct. 17 at 3 p.m., in Paley Library Lecture Hall, 13th Street and Polett Walk (Berks Street) on the lower level, on the campus of Temple University. For more film information, visit www.mothersofnotomorrow.com.