BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Finger painting is usually reserved for children, but a group of about 15 mothers gathered for a photo shoot that required painting their hands red to convey a message from their hearts — Stop (The Violence) in the name of Love!
It’s the message the Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority will spread during Black History Month with a yet-to-be-unveiled bus wrap featuring these mothers. It’s part of BJCTA’s annual Black History Month campaign that showcases black heritage or communicates a message that is vital to the community.
Many of the mothers who came to the photo shoot at A. Boswell Media are with the parental support group “What About Us.” The non-profit support group was founded by Sheree Kennon, whose son D’traio Whorton was killed on Feb. 25, 2021. Another mother in the group, Wytangy Peake-Finney’s son Calvin Arthur Foster, was born on Feb. 25, 1995. He was killed on August 9, 2016.
Peake-Finney is the Senior Director of Planning at the BJCTA and one of the mothers who courageously shared the story of her loss during the CBS 42 special examination of gun violence through the eyes of mothers who have lost children, “Letter from MOMS” (Mothers of Murdered Sons).
“It meant a lot to us to have one of our own who has been through this situation and that made it even more important to our director Charlotte Shaw,” Sam South said, communications director for BJCTA. “She came to us and said this is the perfect time with the recent issue and the recent deaths. This is the time to raise our hands and just say stop.”
The BJCTA is taking it a step further with the “Stop (the violence) In The Name of Love” initiative, with an online pledge the public can sign via their website. When they see the MAX bus featuring these mothers, there’s another step to engage the community.
“We want you to take notice and put your hand up, say I recognize it as an issue in our community and I want it to stop,” said South.
Be on the look out for that invitation to the public to join the mothers who will be featured on the Max bus in February. Each holding up their painted red hands with a heart-shaped hole in the middle, spreading a message to “Stop (the violence) In The Name of Love.”