Mothers of gun violence victims call on community, state and local leaders to help them make change

·2 min read

A group of local mothers from different walks of life came together outside Jacksonville’s City Hall this morning.

They all share one thing in common — the painful experience of losing their children to gun violence.

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They say prayers and conversation are not enough — it’s time to try something new.

By our count at Action News Jax, nearly twenty kids and teens have been shot in 2022 and we’re not yet halfway through the year.

The mothers are calling on local and state leaders, as well as their own neighbors, to help them make lasting change in their communities.

Action News Jax Courtney Cole was there for the conversation and shared what these grieving mothers say would be viable solutions.

“I am begging and pleading. Help! Help! We’re losing our children,” said Beverly McClain.

Ms. Beverly McClain knows the pain of loss, all too well.

“I’m tired of it. I’m tired of seeing our children be gunned down,” McClain said.

McClain’s son was killed in 2005, and she took her painful experience and used it to help others.

In 2006, she opened the non-profit Families of Slain Children, solidifying her mission to help families going through the same pain that she endured.

“The pain is still there, it still hurts, it never goes away,” said Milissa Jackson.

Jackson’s son, Corbin Johnson, went missing in 2018. His skeletal remains were found in a wooded area off of Utsey Road, in 2019.

“Grief follows us every morning and takes us to sleep at night,” Jackson said.

State Representative Angie Nixon, of Florida House District 14, brought these mothers together but has her own story to share, too.

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“I lost two of my cousins to go to violence, and I don’t want my daughters to lose their cousins to gun violence,” Nixon said.

They ask now — from Nixon and all of the mothers who gathered — for more investment in underserved communities, more amenities and more programs for the kids and teens to help turn all of this around.

“I was born and raised in Northwest Jacksonville. It makes no sense that I have to travel across town to go shopping or travel across town to eat at a nice restaurant,” Nixon said.

If you want to know how you can help these mothers, Representative Nixon encourages you to reach out to your state and local leaders, as well as Governor DeSantis, to express your concerns.

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