Portland Moms: Meet Bev Barnum who encouraged Wall of Moms to shield protesters from feds with 'mombods'

Portland Moms: Meet Bev Barnum who encouraged Wall of Moms to shield protesters from feds with 'mombods'

It’s been over 50 days since civil unrest ensued in Portland following the death of the 46-year-old Black man George Floyd and the protests seeking justice for the African-American community is only gaining momentum with each passing. The latest to join the ongoing movement was a large crowd of women from Oregon, who have now become a symbol of the fight against racial injustice and police reform.

On July 20, Twitter was flooded with videos from demonstrations staged outside the federal courthouse, which showed a huge gathering of women clad in yellow, marching with arms linked, while forming a human shield to protect the protesters, asking the feds to “stay away”. They soon came to be known as “Wall of Moms”, centering the conversations on social media. 

So who are the Portland Moms and how was Wall of Moms founded? Well, there’s a rather interesting and inspiring story behind these demonstrations that are taking the Internet by storm. Wall of Moms was started by a Mexican-American woman, Bev Barnum, who encouraged the working moms of Portland mothers to protest with her and “shield the protesters from harm” with “mombods” when she saw peaceful protesters being detained by federal agents, reports CNN. 

Explaining the moment when the idea was born, Barnum told CNN, “It didn't take long for me to find a massive array of a video displaying obvious human rights violations. But I thought I needed to do more so I asked the Portland working moms group to protest with me” 

Yesterday, along with 70 other women, Barnum joined the protests outside federal court in downtown Portland. The women stood in the front of the demonstration chanting, "Moms are here! Feds stay clear!" Barnum further enlisted Don’t Shoot Portland to strengthen her movement. The Black-led advocacy group has been fighting for social change in Portland. 

Many mothers who participated in the Wall of Moms have come forward to spread awareness and encourage others to join the movement. Rebecca, another mother with Barnum, talking about joining hands with Don’t Shoot Portland said, "We are just amplifying their message. Parents have always been out there protesting. Black mothers have been doing this forever trying to get justice for their children. I became concerned for the young people getting teargassed and flash-banged by police. It's like a war zone down there."

Wall of Moms isn’t only working towards stopping feds from charging peaceful protesters, but the group of mothers is also stopping the young protesters from damaging the federal property. “We blocked the fence in hopes that the kids wouldn't take it down and the feds would stay in their building,” Barnum said. 

The founder of Wall of Moms revealed that they are over 2,000 mothers who have expressed desire on social media to participate in the movement. Barnum said, "We'll stop when there is no protester that needs our protection. We get thanks every which way. But we're not doing it for the thanks. We're doing it to protect human rights.”


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