BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — April 18 through April 24 is National Victims’ Rights Week. In recognition of the week, the Voices of Black Mothers United hosted its inaugural Focus on Victims Forum in Birmingham.
The mothers have all lost a child to gun violence. The organization connects women to help them heal and advocate for community change.
Jennifer Ormond, one of the women in attendance, said she lost her two-year-old son to gun violence in 2014.
“He was playful, energetic, always liked to dance, football, those were his things,” said Ormond.
She said mourning his loss and learning how to live with her son felt impossible at just 20 years old.
“I was confused, I didn’t know what to do, I was devastated,” she said.
The director of Voices of Black Mothers United also lost a child to gun violence. Sylvia Bennett Stone lost her 19-year-old daughter, Krystal Joy when a stray bullet struck and killed her at a gas station.
Stone, Ormond, and dozens of others are working to keep other parents from knowing their grief. Monday, Voices of Black Mothers United announced a hotline will be launched to enable people to report verifiable instances of bad policing.
“[It will] give the community some hope and some peace that there are solutions,” said Stone.
Stone said the department of justice will oversee the national hotline as a part of a pilot program. While the grief may not lesson, mothers across the magic city are using it to drive change.
“I promised my daughter I will spend my last breath working to make a difference, and that’s what I’m doing,” said Stone.
The hotline will launch in a few months, said Stone. She is also encouraging people to use it to share instances of good policing as well.