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Deborah Kemper

In memory of Lorena Thompson

Our mother, Lorena Thompson, was the second child of seven. She was my grandmother’s favorite. She worked at the Los Angeles Airport as a ticket agent. My stepfather was “in between jobs” a lot. My mother would typically leave work at the end of the day and go to my grandmother’s, make dinner and then come home to cook for us. She was well-loved by her parents, her siblings and friends.

I was seven years old, in the second grade, when our mother was murdered. She was 32 years old and recently separated from our stepfather. She left early on Monday, November 1, 1965, to go to the unemployment office in downtown Los Angeles because my stepfather had caused her to lose her job. He had stalked us for months. At the unemployment office, he shot and killed her as she tried to run to safety. He shot others who tried to help, but he killed her, emptying his gun as he stood over her. He used a gun that he had stolen three months earlier during the Watts riots.

It was a selfish act that silenced her voice forever.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.