A Mother’s Call for Change: Taun Hall’s Jean Journey
At Democracy® Clothing, we’re committed to empowering women and amplifying their stories of impact. As we approach Mother's Day in May, we're honored to continue our support of Sybrina Fulton and her Circle of Mothers, an annual retreat that provides healing and personal development to mothers who have tragically lost their children to gun violence.
Recently, we had an opportunity to visit Taun Hall, one of the women we met last year at Circle of Mothers, at her home in Walnut Creek, California. Taun shared with us about her life and the lessons she has learned about feeling good in her body. She also told us about how she has turned pain into purpose since the loss of her son Miles, who was shot and killed by police during a mental health crisis in 2019. Whether rallying her community in her own city or fighting for legislative change in the state of California, Taun’s journey is a powerful example of democracy in action and of the inspiring women who are touched by Circle of Mothers.
How would you describe yourself?
I’m a wife, a mother. I love my kids. Friends and family are important to me. I like meeting new people and learning about their lives. People always say that I am inclusive and bring community together. I believe that making connections is a gift and this has helped me build an incredible community of advocates who are now volunteers and friends supporting The Miles Hall Foundation.
Tell us about your advocacy work and what you’ve been able to accomplish with your community?
In the wake of my son's tragic death, I've become a passionate advocate for the mentally ill and their families. Through my experience, I’ve learned that having a family member with mental illness should be shared with others around you. We need each other to understand the resources available and to move through the challenges together. We cannot do this alone.
Part of why we’ve grown so much in the advocacy work we’ve done since Mile’s death is because we have created real community here in Walnut Creek. Working together, we founded the Miles Hall Foundation. Our mission is to educate communities to reduce stigma and bias surrounding mental illness and prevent criminalization and excessive use of force by law enforcement during mental health emergencies. One of our key areas of focus has been the passage of The Miles Hall Lifeline Act in CA- AB 988, a bill providing for an alternative to calling 911 and providing for crisis responders to be trained mental health professionals and peers instead of law enforcement. The Bill was signed into law in September 2022 and now we continue to advocate to ensure its ongoing funding and implementation.
We were honored to meet you last year at Circle of Mothers. What was being at Circle of Mothers like for you?
My experience at the Circle of Mothers was powerful. There were so many moms who have all lost a child and we were able to come together and heal. Sybrina and her team do such a thoughtful job of giving us our space to be in the moment and also allow us to find comfort and community with one another, get pampered, and focus on self-care and growth. We are all in different stages of our grief and yet the huge holes we have in our hearts is a common thread. I was incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be surrounded by people who could understand and support me.
I also discovered Democracy Clothing at Circle of Mothers and was touched by how there were jeans for every mother there, no matter their body size or shape. I was moved by the generosity to help grieving mothers feel good in their bodies. If you have clothes that look right and you feel good about yourself, you can hold your head up a little higher, with more confidence.
This was just one example of the special ways that Circle of Mothers surrounds us with care.
One of Democracy's core values is to embrace who you are. How have you embraced who you are at this stage of your life with all you’re trying to accomplish?
I have learned that I am beautiful in the skin I'm in. For the longest time I haven't embraced my body and I'm learning to love myself and appreciate all it does for me. I think I am becoming more comfortable because I now look back at pictures and I realize how beautiful I am and have always been. I’m also learning more and more to live in the moment, even if it isn't perfect.
What wisdom do you have for other change-making women?
I’ve learned you need to trust your own instincts and not waver from your own intuitive guidance. Everyone will have ideas of what you should do and where you should do it and so it’s easy to lose your way. You always have to come back to “does this feel right for you?” Trust that you know your journey.
Where do you hope your jean journey will take you next?
I hope my jean journey will support me as I continue to face barriers as I fight for justice for Miles. I also hope it will allow me to find new ways to honor Miles and what a creative person he was. On the fourth anniversary of his death this May, at the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, we are hosting a virtual “Say His Name” event. Right now, we’re sharing far and wide a call for artists to Speak it Out, Draw or Paint It Out, Sing It, Rap it Out, and Create It Out to break the stigma about mental health and to decriminalize it.
Democracy Clothing is honored to know and share the stories of Circle of Mothers participants like Taun Hall. To learn more about Taun’s advocacy work, visit The Miles Hall Foundation Website and follow @themileshallfoundation on Instagram. Throughout May, $1 of every order placed at democracyclothing.com will be donated to Circle of Mothers and women like Taun. At checkout, in addition to knowing $1 of every order will support mothers to attend the retreat, you'll also have the option to add a donation of your own or visit the Circle of Mothers website to contribute directly.
Learn more about our month-long campaign for Circle of Mothers