INDIANAPOLIS — Mothers who have lost children to gun violence were honored at a banquet the day before Mother's Day.
"Moms are important. We bear children for nine months. Without us, there is no children, and so we are important in this world, and I feel we should be honored," said Tamara Harris, president of Smart Family Development.
The group hosted the "Breathe Again and Still I Rise" event over the weekend.
Stephanie Scaife spoke at the event about losing her son, Rodney, in 2009. She says that ever since that tragedy, Mother's Day has been lonely.
"I still cry. I cry in private because I don't want my kids to see me emotional. But yes, Mother's Day is very, very hard," she said.
Being surrounded by a community of women who understand, is something Scaife said helps with the pain.
"It's good to know that I'm not alone, that I've surrounded myself [with] the support and love that's all around," Scaife said.
Another mother who lost a child in the last year was invited to the event. There were so many who wanted to attend that Harris said she had to turn some of them away. In 2021, 271 homicides were recorded in Indianapolis. Ivery Pippens' son Tre-ron was one of those killed. It's been 11 months, and she's learned to accept what happened. She hopes to help other mothers experiencing tragedy.
"It's great to be able to see the other mothers who need help and love and support to let them know they're not by themselves," she said.
In 2022, homicides are slowing down, according to city officials, but that are still 81 recorded as of early May.
"It just needs to stop, and it's kinda hard with the way guns are, and how easy it is for young kids to access guns, but it just needs to stop," says Scaife's daughter, Tandy.
But the weekend event wasn't a night to dwell on the grim numbers what's happening on the streets. It was a time for these mothers, who are members of an exclusive club, to get together and share the love.
"There's enough grief. They've dealt with enough grief along with the burial of their children. Today wasn't about sorrow. We wanted to put some laughter and some joy," she said.
Harris says Saturday's event was the first of what she hopes to be an annual event.