Toya Graham is the mom who took action when she saw her son among the hostile during the Baltimore riots earlier this week. The single mother of six grabbed her teen out of the crowd and gave him a bit of tough love in front of cameras. Although she is being hailed a hero by many, Toya tells media that she doesn’t believe that she did anything noteworthy.
“My intention was just to get my son, and have him be safe,” says the concerned mother. “That whole scene was not safe,” she adds. Toya further explains that her son shared his plans to accompany his friends in protest of Freddie Gray’s death the night before Monday’s outbreak. “I said to him, ‘Michael, go to school. Don’t go to Mondawmin [Mall].'” With such direct instructions, you can only imagine how infuriated Toya became when she saw her son among the crowd of protesters with a rock in his hand.
“To see my son come across the street with a rock in his hand, I think at that point, I just lost it.” Toya grabbed her son and hit him a few times while ushering him away from the chaos. Although some are calling her actions commendable, Graham says that her focus was on her child. “You never want to see your child out there doing that,” says Toya. “It was just unacceptable.”
Several hundred Baltimore youth raided the streets after the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody last week. Freddie was 25-years-old at the time of his death.