Anonymous

My grandparents raised me from the time I was five. Six years ago, I had just graduated and was about to start my freshman year. I walked outside to get something out of my car and saw my grandfather shoot himself. It didn’t kill him immediately, but he fell down and just kept saying, “Just let me die.” He died an hour later. He never left a note; we never knew a reason.

I ended up dropping out of school before I even started and staying home to help my grandmother raise my sisters. It’s taken years to feel peace. Even in the last few months, I’ve been finding more signs in the months leading to his death. I can’t help but continue to feel guilt in thinking that I could have changed the outcome, had I known the signs.

This last year, I’ve had this unrelenting feeling that there is a reason I’ve gone through the pain I have, and I want to find a way to help others overcome their trials. To know that it gets better. I want to help people get through the tough times and be a change.

rell

Hello all. I tell my story because it is a part of my life. I live with it for the rest of my life. My son’s life matters. All lives matter. When his life was taken, mine was taken as well. Being a mother of four and to lose your baby is the worst nightmare; I am still in a fog.

I want the guns out of the wrong folks’ hands, which take away lives that matter. How do we stop this? Each and every day I am reminded of my child. What would his life have been today?

Life After Death is a support group here in the city of Brockton for people who have lost their loved ones to guns without purpose. However, guns do not kill, people do.

I will keep my son’s legacy alive. This is why I brought forth this wonderful support group: a safe place to cry, laugh. Scream. Eat. Cry more, smile and learn how to grieve. And no, it’s not OK…

Olga Williams “Bonus Mom to Dom”

On July 19, 2015, Dominique was murdered by a senseless act of gun violence.

Dominique had a smile that was contagious. His heart was overwhelmed with joy, and he was faithful to his beliefs. Dominique’s love for his family and friends was immeasurable. He absolutely loved his family and knew what love was. That is why I #DoitforDom. Being his “Bonus Mom,” or “Momma Lo,” was a joy. Dominique was sure to have you laughing or playing video games or teaching you to take the perfect selfie. He was the best big brother that his baby sister Lindsay could have asked for, and I am so thankful that God allowed them to create a bond that Lindsay can cherish forever. His “Pops”—the name he called his daddy, Leroy—has lost a piece of his heart, and that is another reason why I will and cannot stop telling Dominique’s story.

Dominique’s life wasn’t short, but it was long and filled with love, kindness, and a light that will forever shine. This tragedy has turned pain into purpose! Dominique’s life mattered… and I am honored to be a Survivor Fellow.

Charles W. Reid (Chuck)

When I loss my firstborn and only son to gun violence, it broke my heart, but thanks to my faith in God and the support of Moms Demand Action, it didn’t break me! I have joined the fight to end gun violence in our communities.

This was my first year attending Gun Sense University, and I’m so excited! I learned so much about gun violence, and I am now equipped with my Gun Violence Toolkit, to do the work! I look forward to using these tools to help other families through the Charles W. Reid Community Help Center in honor of my son Chuck. I can honestly say to others “I am not alone.”

Anonymous

I’ll never forget that Sunday afternoon over two years ago. I had stopped at the store to get some coffee on my way to work, and I happened to look at my phone. On it was a GroupMe message from one of my college classmates to the rest of the class, saying that one of our classmates was no longer with us: she was a victim of the Waffle House shooting the night before.

I sat in my car, in shock, for a while. How could this have happened? It did not compute. Just three days earlier, I was standing with DeEbony and two other classmates, giving a presentation to the rest of the class. DeEbony was full of life and energy, and her passion for social justice issues animated my social work cohort. We finished that semester and the following school year subdued by the loss of an integral part of our group, but we were determined to pull together to support each other and honor her memory. For this reason, I fight for a future in which no one loses someone to needless gun violence.

Cedric Horatio Frison

There are a number of experiences that I have had related to gun violence. Growing up on the west side of Chicago, I have lost many of my peers to gun violence, on both sides of the fence. I have peers who have passed away as a result of gun violence, and I have peers who were arrested for murder, and who are still incarcerated 20-plus years later.

Today I work as an outreach specialist; my primary purpose is violence prevention. I work with young men between the ages of 18 and 30 years, who are considered at the highest-risk for being a victim of a violent crime or committing a violent crime. I received news two days ago that a young participant who was on my caseload, with whom I worked very closely, was murdered. I myself walk around with a bullet in my body from 1993 as a result of the gang culture that I was a part of. Today not only am I part of the fight against gun violence, I am also a substance-abuse recovery coach and outreach coordinator for NAEFI (National Alliance for the Empowerment of the Formally Incarcerated).

Charles W. Reid

On June 26, 2011, I lost my firstborn and only son, Charles Woodrow Reid, to gun violence. My son was very smart, loving and so much fun! Because love never dies, he is forever loved at age 24. Through prayer, therapy and faith (my power punch for change), I was able to overcome my grief and trauma.

As a licensed therapist, I work with others in the community by offering mental health resources and advocating to reduce gun violence. In my son’s honor, I founded the Charles W. Reid Community Help Center in Detroit to assist suffering from the impact of gun violence. We will never give up the fight to bring awareness and prevent gun violence!

Our Mission:
The CWR Community Help Center is committed to helping those in the community that have been impacted by gun violence and poverty.

Our Vision:
In honor of Charles W. Reid, our vision is to offer resources to those in the community suffering from the impact of gun violence and poverty so that they may gain hope and stability in moving forward.

Angela Latoya Williams

I am Angela L. Williams, founder of Mothers Against Murderers Association (MAMA), in West Palm Beach, Florida.

I just want to share a little of my story: My nephew Torrey was murdered at his residence, which is only two minutes from where I live. It devastated my family. In addition to that, I have lost 20 more family members. MAMA Organization has a total of 453 mothers who have experienced a loss. Each day my mind wanders to who is going to be next. I get my strength from the women that MAMA Organization helps.

Jitka Vesel

Jitka, Jitty, my dear friend and copilot of 28 years, was senselessly murdered by her stalker: a man who crossed the border from Canada, found and purchased a gun online. It’s a gun he never should have had, a loophole in our laws that took the life of my sister by choice. Every day I miss her; every holiday, birthday, celebration is tarnished by the empty chair at my table and empty space in my heart. I fought then to see her killer brought to justice. I fight today to get sensible gun safety legislation enacted — to stop the flood of blood, to save broken bodies, broken hearts and ended lives.

Jitty, I will carry your laughter, your humor and your kindness with me always.

Terry Walker-Smith

Christopher Lynn Mcbath was my second son to be murdered, gunned down September 15, 2009.
As a parent, you never think of losing a child and having a child taken by senseless violence. My first son, Djuansay Dee Freeman, was stabbed on October 13, 2007. I knew after the death of my second son, I had to do something. I couldn’t save my sons’ lives, nor did I want another child to be murdered or mother to have to endure the pain. I became a volunteer and a voice for the voiceless with Moms Demand Action, and an Everytown Survivor, so that one might live.