LYNCHBURG, Va. – It was a fun-filled afternoon of dancing, games, and winning prizes like back-to-school supplies, but Thursday’s event at Lynchburg’s Jubilee Family Development Center had a strong message behind it.
“Nobody has the right to take anybody else’s life,” said Brenda Moss as she addressed school children.
Moss organized the gathering through her foundation, named in honor of her son, Shawn.
He was shot and killed in 2014 at the age of 34.
Moss now promotes wellness and safety against gun violence.
“[People] have to understand that there’s another way, there’s a better way, and there are people out there who are willing to help them to get out and be better and to grow. There’s another way to settle your differences,” said Moss.
Because she says it impacts more than the victim.
“Families are being devastated for the rest of their life.”
Chevon Thompson knows that feeling. She says her brother was shot and killed in 2017. He was 22 years old.
“It still hurts. It still feels like it was yesterday. The pain never really goes away,” said Thompson.
She hopes children grow to learn other ways of handling situations.
“They don’t know the pain that it causes the family. Think before you react to stuff,” said Thompson.
Organizers partnered with advocacy groups, like the Gun Violence Memorial Project.
It allows families to fill see-through bricks with items to memorialize loved ones lost to gun violence.
They’re currently on display at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C.
Moss donated a basketball because that’s what her son loved.
She hopes the bricks are building blocks to stopping gun violence.
“We need the community to step. We need the community — all of Lynchburg!”