By Nicole S. Daniel
The Birmingham Times
There is no closure after losing a child, said Pamela Bass, who lost her 29-year-old son, Antonio “Toni” Bass”, whose body was found in field near a Jefferson County highway on Sept. 15, 2020.
“It is a daily struggle,” she said, especially “when you carried that child in this world. You just pray to God to give you strength every day. It’s always going to be a trigger but if you continue to hold on to the strength and the memories and learn how to deal with it.”
What made it more difficult was when she logged on Facebook In September 2020, and found out her son was missing. “That’s the worst thing a parent wants to do is see that their child is missing all over Facebook.” A week later his remains were found and no arrests have been made and due to the number of homicides in Birmingham, Bass have accepted that her son’s case may never be solved.
“I think Birmingham Police Department is overworked,” said Bass who believes the easy accessibility to guns may be a problem.
“I spoke at a middle school in Midfield about gun violence. It was six students in the classroom and I asked them how many of you all feel like you need a gun? All of them raised their hand. They said it’s not safe out there and they don’t feel safe,” said, Bass, who has a youth group, Destined 2 Be(D2B), which empowers, uplifts, and helps the youth find love within themselves.
Gun violence has continued to escalate over the past several years in Birmingham, and the city ended 2022 with the families and friends of 144 homicide victims left grieving. The year was deadliest in recent history and only a few homicides short of being the deadliest in the Magic City’s entire history. The highest number of homicides recorded in recent memory was 141 in 1991.
Just this week in Birmingham, five homicides were recorded in just over 48 hours. The five men were killed between 12:40 a.m. Monday and just after 2 a.m. Wednesday.
Asked ways to prevent gun violence in Birmingham Bass said “At this point, we are in a no-win battle. We have forums and we talk to kids about gun violence, but the ones that committing these crimes are not the ones coming to the forums. The community comes together but the people that are attending community meetings are not the ones committing these crimes. So how are we going to get to those people? How can we reach them? We have to go where they are.”
From living in the city and traveling to schools, Bass said she has learned many young people need direction.
“I have asked a few don’t you want to graduate? and they said, ‘well Ms. Pam, ‘I can’t think about graduation I’m trying to live tomorrow.’ And it’s sad but that’s how they think. That’s why they call me ‘Mama Pam’ because I’m always motivating and pushing these young men. They need consistency,” she said.
And to keep her son’s name alive Bass she hosts events in his honor. “Most importantly his true friends will not let his name die,” she said.