Mothers of victims gather for anti-violence meeting

September 25, 2010 4:45:36 PM PDT
Stopping the violence in Chicago was the focus of a town hall meeting at St. Sabina church on the South Side Saturday afternoon as a panel of mothers who lost children told their emotional stories.

"Shaking our heads and saying, 'This has got to stop. Stop the violence.' That's all well and good, but we have to do something about it," said Caroline Wortham, whose son, Chicago Police Officer Thomas Wortham, was gunned down earlier in the year.

Surrounded with love, the mothers, who are forever connected by their pain, came together to talk about how to stop the violence that claimed the lives of their children.

"Larazus -- his spirit -- what I miss most of all of him is him just being here," said mother Pamela Hester-Jones.

Anjanette Albert struggled to share her remembrances of the son, Derrion Albert, she lost a year ago Friday.

"He was a great kid. I wish all of you would have gotten the chance to know him," she said.

Organizers of the town hall-style meeting say with dozens of children falling prey to gun violence in Chicago, not much has changed since Albert's murder Sept. 24, 2009. That's the reason why others whose communities have been touched by violence also sought solutions to the ongoing problem. Motivational speaker Les Brown, along with comedian Steve Harvey, launched the Greatness Center, a facility meant to promote social, personal, professional and leadership development, in hopes of reducing the violence.

"It's about harnessing our collective will, the same way we did for the Olympics, we've got to do that for the future of Chicago and all our kids," Brown said.

Meanwhile, a group of activists used a Chicago public high school as a backdrop as they spoke out against the racial tensions that often spark violence.

"We all want our brothers, sisters, cousins, and nephews to be able to come to school and get an education because in the real world, there is no color. It's all about what you can provide," said James Sterling, a Farragut Career Academy graduate.

But for the family of DePaul University student and gun violence victim Frankie Valencia, there is only one way for parents to stop the killing.

"They need to get involved before, not after it affects them," said relative Joy McCormack.


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