Angel moms, who have lost a son to gun violence, came together and organized “A walk in our shoes: 100 suited black men march” in downtown Clarksdale recently.
The group wants to show the community their loss at the hands of violence in the black community and push people, especially men, to respond in a positive fashion
Activities began at the Delta Blues Museum stage where angel moms told their stories and members of the community spoke. Then, those present, including the many black men in suits, walked from the stage to Clarksdale City Hall.
Clarksdale resident Lekitha Hill and Ta’Tashia Jones of Southaven organized the event.
Hill’s son, Dayeveon, was shot twice on the 1000 block of King Street and killed Feb. 8, 2017. Dayeveon was a senior at Clarksdale High School at the time and had signed to play football at Pearl River Community College one week earlier.
Jones’ son, Lonnie, was killed March 3, 2017 at a friend’s complex when a robbery amongst friends and individuals he knew took place. Lonnie was a 2016 Southaven High School graduate and was planning to go into the military,
Hill and Jones met through mutual friends.
“I thought that it was very needed here in Clarksdale for our young men to be to be seen in a different light other than pants sagging, jail or even the cemetery,” Hill said. “We need to show our men that it’s OK to show up, dress nice and become businessmen. That was the whole purpose of putting this walk together.”
“It actually gives us more insight of the black community joining together,” Jones said. “We’re actually just trying to change the narrative of the black man’s image. We’re kind of bringing the ones we have together to show we have success. Black men have beat the odds. They’ve come out of violence and they have gone into a more successful state. They want to help mentor other youth.”
Jones talked about how she and Hill have come together for several events including Moms Demand Action in Washington DC.
“It’s pretty rare to see our young men dressed up in such really good attire,” said Jones about the event Saturday afternoon. “If it was two, it amazed me just to have them here.”
Hill appreciated seeing many of Dayeveon’s friends.
“In the place of Dayeveon, I want everybody to know I watch him live through his friends, through his classmates, through so many other young men in Clarksdale,” Hill said. “And I’m so thankful that God blessed me with that young man. I’m so thankful that his death did not go in vain.”
Another Angel mom, Marsha Wilson from Memphis, Tenn., told her story. Her son, Sherman, was killed Sept. 20, 2014 when a neighbor’s son was playing with a gun and shot him.
Wilson said she is her son’s voice. On Saturday, she said Sherman took his last breath 2,381 days ago.
“I heard my son yelling in the background, ‘Come now, Momma. Come now. I’m not going to make it. I’m going to die,’” Wilson said. “The hard part about this nightmare is my heart is broken into pieces because there was nothing I could do but watch my son die.”
Wilson said she believes the parent, not the child, should serve jail time because the parent did not educate the child about weapons.
Wilson said she is not against guns, but she is against being negligent with weapons and some gun laws must change.
“I want to let you all know something,” Wilson said. “I am a survivor. When people say, what is a survivor? What do you survive by? No. 1, I’m surviving every day because I had to alter my life to a big change. That was losing my son. That took a big part of me, but today I’m Sherman Wilson’s voice and there’s some things I want to tell you about today. Trigger causes chaos in neighborhoods.”