St. Sabina honors young victims of violence

May 8, 2011 (CHICAGO)

About a dozen mothers gathered at the memorial, which contains the names and faces of more than 70 youth, all killed way before their time.

"Mother's Day is not a celebration anymore. It's a day we don't have our children," said Pamela Bosley at the unveiling. Bosley lost her son Terrell on April 4, 2006. The 18-year-old was taking his drums into choir practice at his South Side church, when someone gunned him down in the parking lot.

"My son, Andre Bohanon was killed December 16, 2005. He was robbed and shot in the head. He was 21 years old. He was the love of my life. I miss him daily," Daneen Bohanon-Silmon said.

Also present at Sunday's dedication was Fr. Michael Pfleger. Temporarily suspended from saying mass at St. Sabina, Pfleger was not talking about his troubles with Cardinal Francis George Sunday but he did come to pay tribute to the mothers, and to pray with them.

"We understand that it's a daily decision, when you've lost a child, just to get up and get dressed, and get out of the house and keep on walking with God," Pfleger said.

Pfleger described the victims honored with St. Sabina's memorial: "They are not names, they are not numbers, they are not statistics; these are lives. We wanted their faces, so that when people walk by here, they will see their value and this gift of life which was snatched from us."

Furthermore, many of the moms present Sunday said they are still waiting for justice. The code of silence that rules the streets has kept their children's killers free, robbing them of some sense of closure and of their futures.

"All that was taken from him and from me, he was my only child. I'll never have grandchildren, so once they took him they took everything I had," said Maria Ramirez, who lost her son to gun violence.

The Youth Council at St. Sabina took about three years to put together the memorial wall. While adding to it is the last thing they want, one of the moms coordinating Sunday's event said from the outset she knows it's inevitable.

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