For mothers who have lost children to gun violence, the holidays can be a particularly difficult time. An event in Pittsburgh will bring some of these grieving women together.
The Facebook page “Stop the Killing, Embrace Life” posts photos and remembrances after almost every homicide in Pittsburgh. Three years ago, the woman behind the page, Tiffany Walker, founded the event “A Mother’s Love.” It’s a dinner that brings together dozens of mothers who have one thing in common: they’ve lost one, or more, children to gun violence.
Walker said it’s something she wishes she had after her sister was murdered in Beltzhoover in 2013.
“I didn’t really ... get together with anyone so that’s why I wanted to become the change that I was seeking,” said Walker.
Mothers at the event will hear speakers, singers, and share best practices for coping, “to join them together so they know they’re not alone. To love. To heal. And to just come together in unity,” said Walker. “They just want to know how other mothers are dealing with it.”
The event is open to mothers who have lost their children recently and those that have been grappling with the loss for years. “We have a lot of mothers that lost their child this year,” said Walker. “We have a mother that was a part of our event in 2016, and now her second child is killed.”
Walker said it’s important for mothers to know that there are others who share their experiences, and to help them resist the urge to remain isolated.
According to Walker, there is a large and growing number of women who share the experience of losing children to both community violence and police shootings. Walker said she has intentionally kept the event small each year so she can customize the experience and provides gifts for the women in attendance. But next year she hopes to invite 100 women.
There have been 107 homicides so far in 2018 in Allegheny County. According to data from Pittsburgh police, gun violence disproportionately affects African American communities in the city.
The third annual “A Mother’s Love” dinner is Saturday, Dec. 29 at Repair the World in East Liberty.