Marcia

Hello, I’m Marcia. I have two children by Julius Moore Sr. He lost his life to gun violence on March 16, 2019, in Maple Heights, Ohio. He moved from Chicago to Cleveland to start a new life. He was a loving, dedicated and supportive father. Our children Oubrey and Omari were only 1 and 2 years old at the time.

Since his passing, I’ve started a nonprofit in memory of him: Guns Down Hopes Up. We provide free resources to children in our similar situation. This has been by far the hardest tragedy I have ever been through. We will miss him dearly.

Stop gun violence, please. Guns down, hopes up.

Anonymous

If somebody could embody “dynamic,” that’s who he was. Always smiling and laughing. He was a few years older—the same age as my brother—so our families were close. Like a best friend, a cousin, another brother. Both he and my brother came out as gay in middle school. In a small southern town, that wasn’t easy. But I never could have expected that February morning, when my mother picked me up from class and told me he had killed himself using a firearm. I was overcome by fear, sadness and one unfamiliar feeling.

A few weeks later, my brother made his own attempt on his life, and I pinpointed the feeling: It was anger. I was furious that they had tried to leave us behind; I was furious at both of their schools for not protecting them; I was furious that someone had sold a gun to an 18-year-old. I couldn’t blame them, though; it was perfectly legal.

This anger fueled my activism. Today I am fueled by my love for the other people working for good and by my desire to help other kids survive and find happiness like my brother has. I hope this fuels you, too.

Ann

I am a survivor of domestic violence—my children and I. We endured the mental, emotional and physical abuse of being hurt when my oldest daughter, trying to protect me and her sister, ran out the house to get help or call the police or my mom. I got tired of the abuse 35 years ago, in 1986. I got my children and left my ex-husband. I was thinking about my children and their well-being—and mine—and I got us out that environment.

In 2002, my baby girl and I were held hostage by her father—same ex-husband—for five hours, with a highly powerful gun. We were thinking about how to endure getting out this hostage situation; someone called the police and the squad to come out to assist with the negotiation, to get me and my daughter out safely, and to notify my family. Thank God! Everything turned out well and blessed!

I’m a faith leader and an activist and advocate against gun violence and domestic violence. I’m a community activist as well, and I don’t tolerate any type of violence in our neighborhood. I’m a strong Survivor Fellow with Moms Demand Action and Everytown!

Aubrey Williams

I began selling drugs as a freshman in high school. I was a talented athlete and gifted academically, yet I lacked wisdom and a healthy vision for myself. Additionally, like most inner city Black kids, I had some other voids to fill as well. Money seemed to be a quick fix for all of my problems.

I wound up getting kicked out of every high school I attended—five total. I was released from juvenile detention on my 18th birthday, and I was shot only a few months later over a money-related altercation. I lost a gallon and a half of blood, and I almost lost my life.

I took heed to the warning and second chance God had given me by changing my life. I got my GED and enrolled in community college, graduating with a 3.5 GPA. I then went on to Morehouse College to earn a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in African American Studies, graduating cum laude!

My personal mission has been and still is instilling the hope into urban Black males that we can be far more than just drug dealers, gangsters and destroyers of our community. We are builders, thinkers, scientists, doctors and anything else we choose to be. I seek to motivate others!

Kalen Black/ Kimberly Jones

My son was murdered on December 15, 2020, by someone who didn’t know him, as he nestled in bed at his home that he shared with roommates. Someone else’s issues resulted in my son’s death, leaving behind a nine-month-old daughter at the time. I haven’t questioned God, and my faith has prevented anger from rising as of today. So many stories, so many lost, yet I didn’t see it coming when death arrived so abruptly. I would never want a mother, even the mother of my son’s killer, to live in the pain that I suffer daily as I try to adjust to my new norm. My goal is to be an advocate and to transition my pain into purpose. My son’s death will not be in vain. I am in Charlotte, North Carolina, and my son died in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Donna

My son Randy was shot and killed in 2017.

I remember the day I was first introduced to my son. God blessed me with a second husband and another son. I loved him from the moment we met. We became a beautiful blended family. Randy was so funny and full of life as a child. He wasn’t my biological son, but we had a mother-son bond that was unbreakable. I miss him every day. His two beautiful daughters look just like him, and I love my granddaughters so much. Their dad was senselessly murdered and taken away from them. Our son’s killer has not been arrested; that keeps me upset. I stay in prayer for my family and myself and turn it into power.

I also lost my first husband to gun violence, leaving me with four young children. He was shot in the head, coming from work. His killer was never brought to justice.

That’s why I volunteer as a Survivor with Moms Demand Action—to fight for peace, racial justice, inclusion and diversity. We fight for all survivors, to get guns off the street and end gun violence.

It’s critical to share your voice.

Laura Fletcher

I had a feeling that the news wouldn’t be good when I saw a favorite cousin’s name on our caller ID. It wasn’t close to a holiday, and there were no showers or birthday parties coming up, so I returned the call upstairs, where it was quiet. All I remember after dialing was rocking on the floor, listening to someone I love say “shot…spinal cord… robbery…palliative care…quadriplegic…search for the shooter…”

Over the next weeks, I realized that when I used to hear that someone survived a shooting, I’d respond with a prayer of thanksgiving and think they were fine. The reality is that for every bullet wound, there are usually dozens of people traumatized, often multiple surgeries and sometimes a lifetime of medical care. I still say prayers of thanksgiving. But now I work to prevent shootings, including supporting common-sense legislation and education on safe storage.

Lisa Lowman

My daughter, Julia, and I were both 16 years old when we survived gun violence.

She was threatened online, and years earlier, I was the victim of an armed robbery. Before I became involved with Moms Demand Action, I never thought of myself or my daughter as gun violence survivors. I thought I had moved on from having my life threatened at gunpoint. But when Julia’s classmate posed with a gun on social media and named her as one of his targets, the fear came rushing back. I felt as terrified as I did 40 years ago—and just as helpless.

Julia and I have worked together to heal from our trauma. We’ve joined other survivors at Maryland Advocacy Day, urging state lawmakers to pass common-sense gun legislation. We’ve become passionate about gun sense candidates–working on local campaigns and passing out snacks to voters on Election Day.

We and other survivors belong to a club no one wants to join. But we are resilient and stronger together.

Joshua Nowlan

My life was forever changed on the night of July 12, 2012, during the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.” The perpetrator entered the movie theater carrying a AR-15 pump-action shotgun and two hand pistols. Thus began the worst night, killing 12 and severely injuring 58 others, including myself.

I lost my left leg and nearly my right arm from the senseless shooting and incurred many other physical and mental injuries. I am forever changed from this horrific act, and I hope sharing my story can make changes for other trauma victims.

Christina Down-Robinson

February 1 is National Get Up Day, and February 1 through 7 is National Gun Violence Survivors Week. For me, these two sets of dates are synonymous. February used to be one of my favorite months of the year. My “Irish twin” brother, Scott, and I would have normally been preparing to celebrate our birthdays together, each of us decorating and preparing for the other’s special day. The best part? The 10 days when we were the same age, and we’d ceremoniously drop our birth names and solely call each other “Twin.” The fun, the laughs and the rivalry are deeply missed.

In 1993, Scott was shot and killed during an attempted armed robbery. He became a gun violence statistic, and I, a homicide survivor. After 27 years, February hasn’t gotten any easier; however, it has become a month of deliberately getting up, showing up and surviving.

So, today I “got up” again, determined to “survive” another February without my Irish twin by my side. I stand, embraced by Scott’s memory, to celebrate his life by honoring him, while continuing to do what I can to support other survivors and steadily working toward common-sense gun safety legislation.