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Your Mom, Britta Brown Whitehead

In memory of Luis "Lou" Zambrana, Jr. Norfolk State University Luis Zambrana, Jr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund

On September 16, 2019, at 11:16 a.m., my life and the lives of my daughters, Layla and Nea, were forever changed. I received a call that no parent, or no mother, wants to receive. My son, Luis “Lou” Eduardo Zambrana Jr., 20, was murdered at an Exxon in Newport News, Virginia, while purchasing Gatorade.

Just one week earlier, Lou had walked me down the aisle to give me away at my wedding. That is the last time I hugged, kissed, held and smiled at my son.

The man who took my son’s life did not know him and had never met him. His actions rested on the word of someone’s opinion about Lou. We are still waiting for a trial.

At age 4, Lou found a love for drama and music in the church. At age 17, Lou was majoring in theater and drama at Norfolk State University. By April 2019, his talent and passion had emerged, and he was received awards for best actor in a musical and “most improved” actor. His life was taken five months later.

As I continue to try to heal, I made a promise to stand up and talk about gun violence awareness

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.