By Nicole S. Daniel
The Birmingham Times
Estella Rush-Lewis vividly remembers being in denial when she arrived at the scene where her daughter was murdered.
Lakandria “Kandie” Rush, 34, was killed in 2017 when someone opened fire on the vehicle where she was sitting in the 4800 block of Terrace S in the city’s Central Park community. Lakandria Rush, 34, mother of four was a victim of gun violence in 2017.
“It took me about two days to believe it was her,” said Lewis.
Lakandria was special because she was her first born, said Lewis, who has another daughter.
“I miss [Lakandria’s] smile and her personality and how she loved to sing. She blessed me with four grandchildren. She was special all of her life. But what I really miss was talking to her every day.”
Since her daughter’s death, Lewis has created an all-women’s motorcycle group called Riding with a Purpose.
“I ride in her honor. I am Lady Pink which was [Lakandria’s] favorite color,” said Lewis. “We ride for gun violence prevention and we do different things throughout the year to give back to the community” like back to school giveaways, and campaigns to bring awareness to gun violence, mental health and cancer.
Since she lost her daughter Lewis has also become a member of Mother’s Against Gun Violence, a national organization that allows her to honor her daughter and educate others about violence in general.
Asked why was important to join the organization Lewis said, “It lets me know that I am not alone and that there are other women out there that feels my pain. We are a support group therefore we call each other. We meet and talk and we I don’t feel alone because it’s other women out there that want to make a difference.”
To prevent more mothers from experiencing the same traumatic experiences Lewis suggests that gun laws be changed and community leaders get involved in their neighborhoods.
“We have to take care of our own communities. We need to set up programs to educate, get out talk and get involved with the youth. It’s not just the youth we have to change our mindsets as adults as well. That mentality comes from a slavery mentality,” Lewis said.
There aren’t words of encouragement that she can send to a parent that has lost a child to gun violence, she said.
“There’s nothing that you can really say to a grieving parent that has lost a child. It’s going to take for God to reach them and be there for comfort. At that moment there’s nothing. Just pray for them,” she said.
Updated at 1:19 a.m. on 3/23/2023 with edits for clarity.