CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Mothers of shooting victims gathered at Neil Street Blues in Champaign on Thursday.
The meeting follows a shooting in Urbana this week that left a 2-year-old hurt and after President Biden announced several new action steps against gun violence across the nation.
The gathering had two purposes. One was to create a safe space for moms to grieve together and support each other in that grief. The other was to brainstorm ideas for how to get guns off the street in Champaign, Urbana, and the surrounding areas.
They met with Maurice Hayes, founder of HV Neighborhood Transformation, to collaborate between organizations. They said the more people working together on this, the better.
Hayes knows gun violence firsthand… Because he was the person pulling the trigger. He explained, “I myself was in prison for 17 1/2 years for murder. And I never got a chance to look into the mother’s eyes of the young man who’s life I was responsible for.” Now, he says, it’s up to him to stop this from happening to anyone else. “I was responsible for taking someone’s child away, someone’s father, someone’s brother, that’s not an easy thing to live with or deal with. In my healing, for myself, I’m going to try and stop it.”
The group plans to host more meetings and welcomes all parents who have lost a child to gun violence to attend.