Donations pour in for Baltimore 'Mom of Year' after house fire

Send a link to a friend  Share

[August 18, 2016]  (Reuters) - A Maryland woman who won widespread praise for publicly scolding her teenage son during last year's riots in Baltimore was made homeless by a house fire, but a flood of donations had poured in to help her by Wednesday.

Video of Toya Graham's reprimand of her 16-year-old son Michael for joining the riots went viral online after it was captured by a local news station.

Graham was hailed by the city's police commissioner and heralded on social media as "Mom of the Year" for the incident, in which she chased her son, smacked him around the head and pulled him away from a group of young rioters.

On Saturday, Graham and her family were displaced by an accidental fire at their home, she said in a statement posted online.

Michael, now 17, was frying a snack when a grease fire started in the pan, the statement said. The teenager, who was home alone at the time, mistakenly threw water on the flames, which intensified the blaze.

No one was hurt in the incident, but a large area of the home was destroyed.

A GoFundMe online fundraising page for the Grahams was launched on Monday, with the goal of raising $5,000. By Wednesday afternoon it had received more than $30,000 in donations, the website showed.

Baltimore's violent unrest erupted in April 2015 after the funeral for Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who was fatally injured while in police custody.

[to top of second column]

Baltimore mother Toya Graham who famously waded into a riot to retrieve her son Michael Singleton (L) stands with him after they joined U.S. President Barack Obama in a televised town hall about trust and safety in our communities in Washington July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

The Baltimore television news station that originally videotaped Graham said she saw her son throwing rocks while watching coverage of the mayhem and ran out to stop him.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Alan Crosby)

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Back to top