When Cleveland police shot and killed her son Angelo after pulling him over in a stolen car in 2005, Loretta Ferguson could have played the familiar role of the angry bereaved mother. She could have sued the city, hoping to live comfortably off a settlement. Her friends and family were shocked when she didn’t. “I wanted to act ugly — ugly like Cleveland never saw before. I was capable of doing it, but God said, ‘No. That’s not why I took your son,’ ” Ferguson, 42, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
She joined with six other women to create Mothers Working Against Youth Violence. She now walks Cleveland’s streets spreading a message that’s equal parts rebuke and empathy. “I tell mothers to take the blinders off,” she said. “It’s our sons that’s out here tearing up our community.” In a community march tomorrow, Ferguson will urge mothers to bond and “send a loud statement that you better get your act together” to troublemakers in their neighborhoods. “Law enforcement cannot arrest their way out of this problem,” said Blaine Griffin, Cleveland’s director of community relations, who called the mothers courageous for tackling urban taboos. “This message is different. I’ve been moved by the strength of these women.”