Mothers on a mission of hope

A new support group formed by grieving mothers who have lost sons to violence has launched a bid to return hope to communities torn apart by crime.

Mothers on a Mission Bermuda, led by Nicole Fox and Dee-Ah Iris, is already helping several mothers, sisters, aunts and grandmothers to deal with their loss.

Now the group has set up a similar support group for men, which met for the first time on November 7, and is preparing for its first official event, Power of the Call, on Thursday night.

The public forum is open to “anyone affected by violence” in Bermuda and is aimed at promoting peace in the community as well as bringing those affected by violence together.

Ms Iris, whose son, Stephen, died after being stabbed in 2013, said: “In many cases, people don’t know what support network is out there when they lose a loved one and so they say nothing and keep it inside.

“Thursday night is an opportunity for everyone who has been affected by violence to come together and provide practical tools, specifically the power of a phone call, to help them deal with the situation they have found themselves in.

“Everyone is at different stages of this process; and for me personally seeing other mothers, sisters, aunties and grandmothers who are going through what I have has given me hope.

“We are able to grow together and help each other.”

She added: “I did not want my son’s death to be in vain. If you lose someone, you can go to a deep, dark place. People in the community make assumptions about you and judge the person you are.

“There is a shame that prevents a lot of mothers coming forward and that is why this group and our first event, Power of the Call, is so important.

“It’s a way of coming together and talking about what we are going through as a community.”

Mothers on a Mission has eight core members, including Ms Fox and Ms Iris, and has met every week for several months.

The initiative has been backed by the Ministry of National Security and provides members with access to trained counsellors and professional support agencies.

The group said it planned to hold further meetings in the central, eastern and western regions to spread its motto “live in peace, not in pieces” and its message.

Ms Fox, whose son Ricco Furbert was shot dead in 2012, added she hoped the group’s remit will expand to include the families of men who have committed violent crimes as well as the families of victims.

She said: “When I lost Ricco I had to re-evaluate myself as a mother. I have two other children and although I felt I had been a good mother there was more I could do.

“I needed to be more proactive and develop more as a positive role model for my children.

“Sometimes we do turn a blind eye and I do not want to be that mother.

“My core values had to change, but it was part of a process that took some time and is still going on with the support group.”

Ms Fox added: “Ultimately I want to see us helping and engaging with those families whose sons are the perpetrators of these violent crimes.

“Some people may not be there yet, and it may take some time, but there is empathy there and we have the expertise to help these families.

“I want to see us united — if we as adults can not unite how can we expect our boys to?

“That is where my heart is. I would like to see us come together and take back our streets and the areas that are infested with gang violence and antisocial behaviour.”

Thursday’s event will take place at St Paul AME Church in Hamilton between 6.30pm and 8pm.

For more information e-mail or call the group’s two leaders on 704-6355 or 331-9172

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