Moms who've lost kids to violence gather at church

May 9, 2010 4:12:47 PM PDT
Chicago mothers who have lost children to violence gathered for a somber event on Mother's Day, supporting each other and calling for an end to the bloodshed. Those assembled at St. Sabina church on the city's South Side said they also wanted to see an end to the silence that is protecting murderers.

The emotional gathering has become an annual event at St. Sabina.

One mother attending the event was Yolan Henry; her daughter, Nova Henry, and granddaughter became victims of gun violence .

"It's hard to say Happy Mother's Day and really feel happy about it," Yolan Henry said.

It's the same for mother Elizabeth Lopez and her husband. Their son was gunned down last year on April 15.

"As a mother, this is very painful," she said.

"You remember all the good things: his first step, the first time he looks at you and you know he loves you," said Andrew Lopez.

On what is a day of celebration for most, the women at St. Sabina were among a growing sisterhood of grief, sharing the sorrow and hurt of losing a child.

"You don't know what it's like to wake up and not have your child on Mother's Day or any other day," said Maria Ramirez.

The mothers, their families and supporters gathered Sunday at a newly unveiled sculpture dedicated to the memory of their murdered children.

It depicts the taking of a young life.

"I was to show the pain, to show something unhuman was going on here," said Jenzy Kenar, the artist.

The work of art sits in the vestibule of St. Sabina, which is pastured by Fr. Michael Pfleger, who lost his own son to gun violence in 1998.

"Sometimes, when there's deaths every week, you begin to feel like nobody remembers your child anymore. We want them to know we will never forget their children," Pfleger said.

The mothers who placed cards with their children's names at the statue's base called again Sunday for the violence to end and for a stop to the code of silence that continues to protect their children's murderers.

"We're pleading with people that know who [is] doing the killing to turn them in, to stand up," said Deneen Bohanon-Silomn.

That's what 15-year-old Ondelee Perteet said he wanted after gun violence almost claimed his life.

"I'm glad to be here, but gun violence is just senseless," Perteet said.

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