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Pain without Purpose

In honor of Stephen Joseph Aguilar A Time For Grieving and Healing

Hello fellow survivors of gun violence,

My name is Deborah Aguilar, the mother of four precious children. Our second son was born on August 11, 1984. We named him Stephen Joseph Aguilar. The pain I endured during labor was well worth it, but it would never and could never compare to the pain my husband and I and our oldest son were forced to endure. To lose Stephen in a drive-by shooting in Salinas, California, on November 16, 2002, at 1:10 a.m. was the beginning of a nightmare.

He was driving home from the neighborhood 7-11 to buy some snacks, which was only three blocks away from our home. He never returned home. Someone followed him and his passenger from the store and shot at them. My son was hit in the back of the head with a 9mm handgun, and he died at the scene.

My son’s case has grown cold, with no leads and no justice. I fight with all I have within me to see an end to this senseless gun violence in my community. In 2003, I founded an organization called A Time For Grieving and Healing. It’s a support group for homicide victims and senseless violence. We are strong, united and continue to advocate for our loved ones taken too soon. We Wear Orange with you for the past four years.

My son was only 18 and one month of age.

He was robbed and cheated of his dreams.

We were all treated unjustly. I have forgiven them, and preach love and peace to everyone who God leads to me. This how I honor my son who was given to me by God. Thanks for this opportunity to share.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.