Mothers come together to address gun violence in Danville

Group made up of mothers who have lost children to gun violence

DANVILLE, Va. – Jean Jackson is the founder of "Mothers Stronger Together."

Her son, Joseph, was shot and killed.

Several years later in 2009, her 14-year-old grandson was shot and killed.

"We decided that in order to get our children together we mothers had to get together first, because we've lost a lot. We've lost a lot," Jackson said.

Her hope is that getting mothers together to share their pain and their stories will motivate them and other mothers, and perhaps the community as a whole, to do more to try to protect kids.

"If we can get together as mothers and get our children together, then we can stop the gun violence," Jackson emphasized. "We can stop the violence with the children. Try to help them with creating jobs, education, recreation."

There have been six people under the age of 25 shot and killed in Danville and Pittsylvania County this year.

One was 23-year-old Fenqwon Payne.

His mother is a member of the support group.

She didn't share her story at the group's first public meeting Sunday, but was visibly emotional, wiping away tears as other mothers shared their stories.

Justin Ferrell knew Payne and Tion Burton, a teen who was shot and killed at a high school graduation party in May.

He spoke to the group members about the importance of what they're doing.

"Although I don't live in Danville now, it's somewhere where I would love to come back to. This is home," Ferrell said. "I want to make sure that when I come back to raise a family that the crime is alleviated."

He said there is a lot that can be done, and he hopes the mothers can take what he called the torch of "doing" to the next level.

If you are interested in joining the group, contact Jean Jackson at 434-429-3221 or Elder Theresa Carter at 434-228-3180.

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