Mothers in Charge speak to youth about pain of crime

Losing a child to homicide is not something a mother really recovers from, but when such mothers unite they can be a force against crime.

Mothers in Charge in Kansas City has only been in existence for two months but they are already involved on the front line with police.

Women with the group spoke Wednesday to the city council public safety committee.

As Bryan Dial, executive director of the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, which formed the group, told the committee: “They’ve really hit the ground running.”

They work with police in the No Violence Alliance, speaking to youth about their pain. They also tell them about the pain the youths will cause their own mothers if the youths go down the road of crime and sudden death.

Their speeches are the strongest part of the call-ins aimed at persuading youths to turn away from crime, police say. Their words on a video created for the alliance hit like a blow to the heart.

They also issue pleas for witnesses to come forward and help solve murders.

“Without the community, without the media, we’re not going to be able to solve these homicides,” group president Rosilyn Temple said Wednesday.

The 13 mothers and grandmothers in the group also support each other and they want support from others – schools, churches, anyone to help end the violence.

“We need the community to come out and support us, to come out and stand with us,” said group president Rosilyn Temple.

They were created out of pain and part of their mission is to prevent more such pain, she said.

They want to go into schools and address young children about solving problems without violence, she said.

Councilman John Sharp, whose stepdaughter was murdered in 2000, praised their work.

“There are people who know who did all of this,” he said of unsolved murders. “We are losing way to many fine young people and we can’t tolerate it anymore.”

Sonya Cherry said her son Samir Clark was killed at age 19 just days before he was to leave for college. A woman he did not know knocked on the door of an apartment he was at and asked for refuge. A man trying to kill her fired into the apartment and killed Clark.

“For a long time I didn’t know what I was doing,” Cherry said. “I thought I was losing my mind.”

In May, she was among group members who went to a conference in Philadelphia, the city where the original Mothers in Charge group was founded in 2003.

She met a Brooklyn mother who had lost all three sons to homicide and “is still standing strong,” Cherry said. “That gave me more inspiration to continue the work in Kansas City.”

The mothers’ groups have also spread to some other cities like New York and San Francisco, she said.

They keep in touch with each other and with the original founder, Dorothy Johnson-Speight, she said.

“All mothers can relate to the pain it has caused us so by us becoming one unit it makes us stronger,” Cherry said. “We just try to be a support system for each other.”

Sadly, in Kansas City and nationwide, many more mothers become eligible to join such clubs each year.

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