Mayor Andy Berke join Mothers Against Senseless Killings
A group of Chattanooga mothers, trying to put an end to senseless killings, teamed up with the city's leader.
Mayor Andy Berke talked about his efforts to reach mothers who have lost a child to gun violence.
Families are happy Mayor Berke wants to create resolutions for gun violence in Chattanooga. The Mothers Against Senseless Killings or “M.A.S.K." want to educate families about the importance of planning ahead.
In 2011, LaRhonda Townsend lost her son, Darrius Townsend, to gun violence.
She wanted to create a group for change in honor of her son.
“I thought about killing myself, and I thought about going out to get retaliation. I took that grief, and I took the anger and put it into M.A.S.K.” said LaRhonda Townsend.
Townsend created mask because of her own struggle with making arrangements for sons’ funeral.
She did not have life insurance on Darrius. So her parents had to give up the rights to their home to pay for the service.
“When I was having my sons’ funeral, they stopped my family in the line to ask for the rest of the money to cover the insurance. That embarrassed me,” said Townsend.
Norma Ferrer joined Townsend in these efforts after she had a difficult time paying for her son, Monseratte Ferrer’s, funeral.
The average funeral cost is between $5,000- $10,000.
She advises parents not to ignore the need to protect your child with a life insurance policy.
“You can't. It's very important for you to take $10 every month to pay that life insurance in case something happens,” said Norma Ferrer. “We want to start working with the funeral homes to see if they will make a special package that will be at a lower cost.”
April Finch is not a mother, but she is concerned about her neighborhood.
She is close to the family of Darius Townsend and doesn't want family members to get hurt because of gun violence.
“They're almost the same age and I worry about them, too,” said April Finch. “My cousins, my friend, it could be anybody.”
Townsend has attended several community meetings in hopes of reducing gun violence, in Chattanooga.
She says she's glad to have the support of Mayor Andy Berke.
“It was exciting, and I know they are on my side. I know they want to see a change in the city,” said Townsend.
You can get in contact with M.A.S.K. organizer LaRhonda Townsend here.