WYNONA HAWKINS-HARPER speaks out against the ongoing gun violence plaguing Black communities across the region, during a news conference at Freedom Unlimited in the HIll District, Nov. 30. (Photo by Xavier A. Thomas)

Mothers, teens who have lost loved ones to gun violence say it must stop

According to your everyday dictionary, “Pain” is defined as “physical suffering or discomfort,” or “mental suffering or distress.”

Pain is something, most everyone would say, they’ve felt. One mother, though, disagrees.

“Until you have lost a child,” she said to the room, in front of all the cameras, for her entire community to hear, “you don’t know what pain is.”

Whether it was Connie Moore, or Wynona Hawkins-Harper, or Ramele Davis, all of them had the same story—Black mothers who had lost their beloved son to gun violence in the Pittsburgh area.

“What happened to the Black people, governing our communities and watching over our children…We are the leaders in our homes, and we are failing our children, the ones that’s raising them. How do you enable homicide, (for them) to kill the next one?”

WYNONA HAWKINS-HARPER

Mother who lost her son, Jamar Hawkins

On Thursday, Nov. 30, as the night fell, along with the rain, a host of mothers shared their pain and testimony, with the message to Pittsburgh’s Black community that the gun violence must stop—right now.

They gathered at Freedom Unlimited in the Hill District, surrounded by community leaders, backed by organizations such as the Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP), the local NAACP, and Prevent Another Crime Today (P.A.C.T.).

“We are taking a stand and calling out to the community that this senseless violence will never end until the community steps up and does the right thing by turning in some of your own family members that you know are involved in this outrageous behavior,” said Valerie Dixon, executive director of P.A.C.T. “We understand that there is a tremendous level of inequities and lack of access to meaningful employment and entrepreneurial opportunities to many who live in our impoverished communities…but the murdering and shooting of our children will not be tolerated.”

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