Violence Prevention

After The Vigil: Mothers United Against Violence

NBC Universal, Inc.

In the Capitol city, there is a mother's group that no one wants to be a part of. Mother's United Against Violence shows up when someone's loved one is lost to gun violence.

You can typically find Mothers United Against Gun Violence at vigils but planning and logistics are also a big factor for the group.

Henrietta Beckman and Rev. Henry Brown started the organization 18 years ago after two murders devastated the city.

"My son Randy was shot in 2002," said Beckman. "He had one shot to his head, one shot in his arm, and one shot in his leg."

Beckman and Brown joined forces to help unite the city.

"No one had the voice in the community, there was no relationship with the police department, none of those things," said Brown.

The group's voice has been critical in establishing a relationship with Hartford Police to help bridge the gap in the community, but they also understand the importance of offering resources to help stop the cycle of violence.

"We also provide our young people with the therapeutic drumming and we do mentorship," said Debora Davis, who is the program and development manger for MUAV. "We give them all these great opportunities to really put some of their feels of stress and trauma to good use."

Davis told NBC Connecticut her life has not been the same since she lost her son almost 12 years ago but mentions that the sisterhood has given her the support needed to heal.

"What we're doing here is just making certain that people know that they have the support," said Davis. "This is an anchor not just for this community but for the city."

Through the years, the group has enlarged its focus to not only support mothers dealing with grief but to also give families the practical tools to help them move forward.

Reverend Henry Brown (l), Debora Davis (m), and Henrietta Beckman (r) work together inside the groups office.

The non-profit offers several classes including computer and sewing.

Xiomara Rosa is one of the many mothers who benefit from the group's support and resources.

"They actually helped me through the trauma," said Rosa. "I felt that no one really understood what I was going through."

The group's partnership with Hartford's Police Department is also critical to help victims' families understand where investigators are in the investigation and how close they are to finding some closure.

"A lot of times some cases we're able to make arrests quickly and move quickly and those cases always revolve around cooperation," said Sgt. Anthony Rykowski of the Major Crimes Division within Hartford's Police Department. "Sometimes Mothers United is successful in bringing them around."

The organization knows that advocating for a better future starts with focusing on the root cause of the violence.

"The violence is just magnified and it has gotten to the point where it's just senseless violence," said Brown.

The group told NBC Connecticut they are dedicated to creating a better city and that passion is what motivates them to show up every day, along with ensuring other mothers don't experience their pain.

"Violence is not the answer and it's not the solution," said Davis. "We have to do better and the only way we can do better is for the people in the community to start embracing one another," said Brown.

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