[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Toya Graham is a single mother with six children. She does her best to provide for her children and make sure that they stay on the right path. As she was out in her neighborhood Monday night, just before the violent riots began, she said she could see objects being thrown at the police and thought to herself, “Oh my God. This is really happening right here with me.” She then turned around and saw her only son Michael, who is 16 years old, with a hoodie and a mask on, crossing the street to join the riots. Her response in that moment had many calling her mother of the year.[/vc_column_text][banner300 banner=”5517620b381df”][vc_column_text]During an interview for CBS Evening News, Ms. Graham said she wasn’t thinking about the cameras at the time of her reaction. She was only thinking about her son. She said she lost it at that moment, went up to him and pulled on his hoodie. He tried to get away, so she smacked him, then smacked him again. It took her some time, but she was able to get her son home safely. Graham said her son told her that his first instinct when he saw her was to run. He knows his mother does not play and was likely shocked, embarrassed, and afraid to be caught by her about to take part in the madness.
Graham said, “That’s my only son, and at the end of the day, I don’t want him to be another Freddie Gray. But to stand over there and vandalize police officers, that’s not justice.” She continued, “I’m a single mom. I have six children and, I just choose not to live like that anymore and I don’t want that for him.”
As any mother would be, Graham said she was angry and shocked when she saw her son because you never want to see your child doing things like that. She explained that there are some days she’ll shield him in the house, trying to protect him from the trouble there is to find on the street. But, she knows she can’t do that forever.[/vc_column_text][banner300 banner=”553157113d3ff”][vc_column_text]Speaking about her parenting style, Graham said, “I’m a no tolerance mother. Everyone that knows me knows I don’t play that. So, he knew. He knew he was in trouble.”
While she does think that strong mothers can prevent this kind of thing from happening, Graham admitted one issue with the one-parent household. She said, “We don’t know where those mothers were at. A lot of mothers have to provide for their children. You know, you can make that phone call ‘get home, get home right now,’ but at the end of the day, they’re going to make their own decisions.”
She then ended with the struggle that all parents face. “As parents, we just have to follow through to make sure that’s where they’re supposed to be at.” Graham admits that her son is not the perfect boy, but he is hers and she’s grateful she was able to get him home and safe.
As Graham watched some of the events unfold Monday night with her son, she shared that she hoped he understood the seriousness of the situation.