Samantha Murphy

My beautiful Samantha was born on June 12, 1987. I was a single parent and had no doubt in my mind about the love I shared for her, from the time she was in my belly. She made me a better person. She was a loving, generous person. Her laugh, from the time she could laugh, was always loud and boisterous. She made everyone around her happy.

Samantha was just starting to love her life as a mother of a beautiful baby girl when her life was taken. She was eager to start a career in coding, prior to her traumatic death. Samantha was not a person to club hop or stay out late all the time. One of her “new friends” enticed her to go out the night of the horrible event. A fight broke out at the club, and gunfire spilled out in the street. Samantha was shot in the head and left to die in the parking lot.

Her daughter’s birthday was the next day; she was going to be two. My Samantha succumbed seven days later. We donated her organs, and she saved many. She died a hero. Her baby is my love now.

Donald Hughes

On Good Friday, April 6, 2012, my family’s life changed forever. My husband came home from grocery shopping for Easter dinner, and as he closed our back door, he was shot. Just a random act of violence that shattered our lives. No one has ever been brought to justice. I joined Moms Demand Action to be a voice.

Heartbroken

My beautiful, kind, sweet mom was murdered on August 2, 1984. Someone broke into our family home and shot her three times. Her killers have never been caught. They took her purse and the jewelry she was wearing. A life taken away for nothing. My mom was full of life and generous beyond measure. Smart and so funny. Our home was always the gathering place. She made everyone feel welcome.

Victoria Hicks

My life changed for a second time on September 10, 2019. My son was 20 years old and killed by someone that was supposed to be his friend. There are all kinds of stories flying around, but I won’t know until the trial. His murderer was cold-hearted and didn’t care. He chose whether my son lived or died.

Tre will never be able to give me grandbabies, get married or start his clothing line. Tre was a lovable son, big brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, etc. He loved everyone and always kept a smile on his face. He was a talented young man.

Tre was killed in front of my sister and her family. I had to find out through messenger or Facebook. It already surfaced when my mom called me at 12:10 p.m. His grandmother had to find out on Facebook. That’s not what I wanted; I just needed my privacy at that very moment. I couldn’t see my son until that Friday, when he came home.

He is very missed, and visiting his grave is so hard. Losing Tre has made me look at life differently, and I’m not the same person I was almost eight months ago.

Alex Zuban

My sister Kate was my best friend. She was just two years older, and we grew up together. Just like all sisters, we played house, made up dances in the living room, played sports together, and were in the same schools all our lives. Kate was 33 when she was shot in the head while sitting on a bench with her friend in the Cleveland Metropark at 5:08 p.m. on June 4, 2019. They have not found their murderer.

Kate was a dynamic, caring, humorous person without a single enemy. Kate’s first CDs were No Doubt, Coolio and Alice in Chains; I use that description to explain how she loved everything. In this past year, my family and I can’t fathom why someone would want to harm our Kate. Not a day goes by that I don’t long to see her.

Eventually, when our wounds are a bit more “healed,” I plan to inspire change in Metropark mandates to have more cameras and license-plate readers on all their entrances. Whoever was wielding the gun on June 4, 2019, is still out there, and we need a change so that person can never have access to a gun.

Marques

I was only 25 when my cousin was struck by a stray bullet due to nearby gang violence. She wasn’t killed instantly but did die in my arms at the scene. She was only 16. She told me, with her last few breaths, to make sure this never happened to anyone else. It has been my duty to do whatever is necessary to honor my cousin’s name. It’s also to ensure that no one else has to feel the pain that I do everyday. I honor her every day by staying strong. Miss you Julia!!

Love always,
Marques

Latrice Murray

I lost my 17-year-old son, Darreon Murray, in a drive-by shooting after his last basketball game, 11 days before his 18th birthday. He was due to graduate and go off to college. Instead we were planning a funeral. On March 7, 2009, at 1:15 a.m., my life changed forever. My son become the 21st homicide of 2009. It will be 11 years this March, and my son’s homicide is still unsolved.

Lynne Atkins Bassell

Life can change in an instant. On June 16, 1978, I was 19 and at a Giants game at Candlestick Park. I was standing next to my bright orange Chevy Vega when I felt a powerful force that knocked me to my knees. I saw a hole in my coat and blood dripping. I said to my friends “You guys, I think I got shot.” How I knew I had been shot is still a mystery to me, as there was no sound or warning event. My boyfriend found a security guard who drove me to San Francisco General Hospital, where the doctors and team found that I had a .38 slug lodged near my spine. It entered on my abdomen above my hip bone and damaged my intestines before landing a few centimeters away from my spine. I was so very lucky to have the outcome that I did. I live with this little reminder of just how much damage caused by guns in the wrong hands. With each mass shooting that happens, my positive attitude and PTSD get triggered, which sends me into a panic and depression. I will never stop fighting for everyone’s safety.

Adriano Ace Silva

We are Maudistine and Robert Hathaway. Our son Adrian was gunned down while riding his motorcycle in the northeast side of Columbia, South Carolina, not even a mile from his home. He was just 47 years old. On January 3, 2016, our son, husband, father, grandfather and uncle was horrifically taken away from his family. His killer or killers have yet to be brought to justice. While our hearts will never heal, we continue to be his voice and we will continue to speak out against gun violence.

It saddens us to see so many mothers and fathers lose their child to gun violence. For us it’s a nightmare that continues to replay over and over again in our minds. His children without a father, his wife without a husband, his parents without a son. This pain: No parent, especially a mother, should have to endure this pain. And as we continue to seek justice for our son, we pray for healing not just for our family but for all families who have lost a loved one to gun violence. We are the voice of Adrian Ace Silva.

Judy A. Ragland

On September 20, 2011, my 27-year-old son Quentin Joavar Ragland was taken from me forever by a gunshot to his head. That was the darkest day of my life. I didn’t think I was going to make it, but with God on my side, he kept me strong.

That was my second son to be murdered. In 2002 my oldest son Ronald was killed by a drunk driver high on PCP and alcohol. That was my first tragedy, and who would have ever believed I would have to endure another death of a child. To top it off, I have never received justice for either of my son’s murders.

The help of God is the only way I am able to sustain and overcome. Guns for sure need to be controlled in this country: Too many lives are falling to gun violence.