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With Homicides Down in Birmingham; Mothers Against Gun Violence Still Working

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Angela Walker, CEO of Mothers United Against Gun Violence

By Alaina Bookman | abookman@al.com

Angela Walker, CEO of Mothers United Against Gun Violence, is providing a new opportunity for Birmingham residents to support each other after losing a child.

Mothers United will host its first monthly support group meeting to aid mothers who survived violence on Jan. 27, at the Homewood Public Library, 11:30 a.m.– 1:30 p.m. Walker is a domestic violence survivor and her son has survived two separate shootings. Despite the hardships she faced, she worked to earn her degree in counseling. She is a survivor hoping to help victims of gun violence, sexual assault and domestic violence heal.

“I refuse to allow what I had gone through to restrain me, to define me and to limit me from the possibilities and that’s why I’m so intentional about engaging with these mothers,” Walker said. “You will always honor the memory of your loved ones, but you don’t have to stay in the same place of grief, heaviness and sorrow every day for the rest of your life. You just don’t have to. You can choose to live.”

The city ended 2023 with 135 homicides, a 6 percent decrease from 2022 when the city had 144 homicides, marking the deadliest year in recent history. There was an 8 percent increase in domestic violence investigations from 580 investigations in 2022, to 628 investigations in 2023.

Walker is hoping the homicide numbers continue to decrease as she works with victims of violence to heal their internal wounds.

Experts say to cope with grief and trauma, it is important for victims to have safe spaces, like a monthly support group, to talk about and acknowledge when something traumatic like domestic abuse or gun violence happens.

The support group meeting will include guest speakers and time for participants to share their own testimonies, Walker said.

“We are just using some different techniques, and healthy, wholesome tools, and engagement with other moms, so that they can see their way through collectively to really start getting them to think differently about where they are, where they’ve been, and where they want to go,” she said.

She will also conduct an assessment, for those who are interested, to determine what resources each participant may need to move forward.

“This is to see where they are, their moods, emotions, their triggers, so we can begin to see what they need to begin to work on healing. Because we can help people unless we know where they are,” Walker said.

On May 4, 2024, Mothers United will also host a luncheon, in support of mothers who have lost their children to gun violence.

The luncheon will take place at the Homewood Public Library and will include guest speakers Tonya Hill Alan, founder and executive director of Diane’s Heart, a program supporting single mothers and their children, and Selena Dickerson, a domestic violence survivor who started her own engineering firm.

At the luncheon, organizers will introduce their new entrepreneurship program and scholarship fund to help victims of violence start their own businesses.

“This is all just a way to help people move forward in a more positive, impactful and meaningful way,” Walker said. “Change basically begins in the home with these moms. If we can get that mom to a place of knowing who she really is, being strengthened and fortified, there will be a domino effect that spills out into the community.”