Cacy Roberts

My son and I are victims of gun violence. On December 21, 2020, we were lying in bed, and someone shot up our home. From the street they shot about 11 bullets from a high-powered rifle through my upstairs, downstairs and car. One of the bullets pierced my five-year-old son’s head, exited the other side and then hit me in the back of the upper right arm, where it remains. My youngest son, age three, watched the whole thing.

My five-year-old lost his eyesight, and he will have the remains of his eyes completely removed. Luckily he didn’t suffer any brain damage. He did have to have brain surgery to repair the fracture in his frontal skull. He also lost his sense of smell and taste since those are located in the area that was damaged. He’s now learning to cope with life without vision; he’s learning Braille and how to navigate with his cane. He’s handing the ordeal very well, considering.

Taylor Dennison

I am Taylor Dennison. A childhood family friend of mine, Eunice Rodriguez, passed away senselessly due to gun violence on June 4. Around 1 a.m., Phoenix police responded to a call about a person with a gun near 43rd Avenue and Indian School Road. Eunice Rodriguez was getting off of work around that time. Her mother had to come pick her up, due to her running out of gas.

Her mother, Eunice Despaigne, saw a man in the roadway covered in blood and stopped her vehicle near him. The man named Francisco Sanchez approached the car and attempted to threaten to jack their car. When they refused, he shot a bullet, which grazed my friend’s mother and ended up hitting my friend, Eunice Rodriguez, killing her instantly in the passenger’s seat. Her autistic brother was also in the car.

The man fled the scene and attempted to kidnap another woman. He has been arrested and is facing trial, but despite this, there has been little media coverage. This has been extremely devastating for all of us who love her and for her family. Nothing can heal the pain that we are experiencing but we all want her name known.

Jamal

The son of Mr. and Mrs. Shakir M. (Christy) Rashed, Jamal M. Rashed was killed on July 29, 1994. My son Jamal was 17 years old and an upcoming senior at Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, president of the Black Achievers Program, mentor with the Henry Branch YMCA and a Sewanee Scholar. Jamal’s ambition was to become an architectural engineer and build the Rashed Towers in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In his memory we set up the Jamal M. Rashed Memorial Scholarship Fund, Inc., a nonprofit organization. He had one sister, Kamilah. Jamal had a smile that could light up the sky and a heart full of love for everyone.

His death has changed our lives forever.

Anonymous

On December 28, 2016, at exactly midnight, my daughter’s ex-boyfriend broke into our apartment. He ran up our stairs and called me by name, and he shot me in the face. I passed out; while I was unconscious, my 16-year-old granddaughter, Rebecca, hid her little sister in a pile of blankets. Then she went out into my daughter’s (her mom’s) room, where my daughter hid a knife. She went after him, trying to get him out the house. She stabbed him twice, but he was stronger than she was. He killed her with no remorse. I don’t remember much after that.

Monee Man

My grandson was killed on November 18, 2012, by a 15-year-old killer. LaMonee was on his way home with a friend when he was shot in the back by someone he knew. Monee began to run when he heard the shot; as he did, the bullet traveled through his body. Monee ran three blocks before he collapsed on the street and died.

He was a very polite, kind and well-loved young man. At his funeral, I remember the pastor asking, “Isn’t this a school day?” The church was full with students, friends, teachers, administrators and our family.

The young man was arrested on the day of my grandson’s funeral. Two lives came to an end. The young man stated, “I didn’t mean to kill him; I thought he would go to the hospital and then come home.”

LaMonee D. Johnson-Chisholm was only 13 years old. He was killed on my sister’s birthday. There is not a day that we don’t talk about him, his love for others and how much he is missed.
These senseless crimes must stop. How does a 15-year-old get a gun? When will this stop?

Denice Porchia

I was 15 years old, and sadly, it was my first day back at school after a lengthy absence, due to my kidneys failing. I was so happy to return to school, and my life changed forever. The gunman was trying to take my life because he was attempting to rape a teacher and I was a potential threat. He aimed the gun at my forehead, and the impact knocked me to the ground. The bullet went into my arm and made its exit to my back, just missing my spinal cord.

My life after 50 years caused me to have nightmares. This has changed, but fear of being alone sometimes affects my sleep. Small places produce anxiety. I am thankful to Moms Demand Action for a platform to stop this madness.

Joe Lor

My brother Joe was a car enthusiast. He was a natural-born leader. He was goal-oriented and resilient—a friend and confidant to many.

Joe broke a lot of barriers before he was killed at age 22. He became a young father at age 17. He was a young but loving father to his daughter, Kayleen, and hardworking husband to his wife, Gina, also 22. His daughter was his world, his motivation. Everything he did was for his little family.

On May 13, 2018, the night of Mother’s Day, he was shot dead in the living room of Gina’s parents home. They were simply celebrating his mother-in-law and all the other moms of the family, including Gina.

In a split second, our whole world shattered. Not only did we lose a brother, son and friend, we also lost his wife, Gina, and daughter Kayleen, who was only five years old. A whole family, gone.

Our pain exists to remind us of all the love they can no longer receive. They are truly missed.

Kayleen Lor

Kayleen, my niece, was the energy in the room—wise and intelligent beyond her tender age of five. Anyone who spent one minute with her immediately loved her because of her electric energy and quirky comments! Kayleen has sass, and she owned it.

She loved her animals, specifically dogs and horses; she believed they were her “bestest” friends. She was eager and well-prepared to start kindergarten in the fall.

However, on May 13, 2018, as she was celebrating Mother’s Day with her mom, Gina (22), and dad, Joe (22), in her grandma’s living room, a gunman decided to shoot into the living room full of her loved ones, killing her dad, her mom and herself.

We will never know what she could’ve grown up to be, or how her energy and spunk could have healed to this world. We were stripped of that privilege that night, and all we are left with is pain.

They are deeply missed, always.

Brandy

I grew up in a home with child abuse and gun violence. I was eight when my mother shot my father; she did it again after that. No one came to check on us four kids; no charges were made, even after the second time.

When I was 15, my mother put a gun to my stomach when a sheriff’s deputy drove up. As she had shot my father twice, I always believed she would have pulled the trigger. The state was South Carolina; there wasn’t help for kids caught up in gun violence then.

I’m in therapy now for this, as well as for the gun violence in childhood.

Jeani Garcia

On August 24, 2012, I came home from work and found my 17-year-old son, Kareem Fedd, lying cold and lifeless in his bed. His nose and mouth were bloody, and he looked as if he were sleeping.

At that moment, I had no idea that my son had been shot multiple times as he slept in his own bed. It wasn’t until we got to the hospital, and the emergency room team of doctors notified me that my son had succumbed to his injuries, that I asked, “What injuries?” and they said, “multiple gunshots.” I was in shock—still am, most days.

It took five years and 11 months before an arrest was made; it was a rival gang member who murdered my son. The investigation was led by me. I have learned so much about a failed system—more like a system designed for the children in my community to fail! It’s either from the cradle to the cage or the cradle to the grave.

I have become a credible messenger with Zero Youth Violence, a nonprofit organization in my community, president of the Ortiz Ark Foundation and the founder of Mother2Mother Inc, a support group.