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'I wish I had that support': National group brings support, empathy to grieving Black mothers

The group will hold it's kick-off event Saturday at Central Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — So far in 2022, nearly 100 people were lost to gun violence in Louisville.

Mothers are learning to navigate a new life, without their loved ones.

A national group named Voices of Black Mothers United will now work to help black mothers in Louisville with empathy and experience.

Kendra Broughton has already found relief in the group.

In July 2021, stray bullets went through Broughton's walls in the Newburg neighborhood. Her son Zion and daughter Na'Shell were both hit while laying in bed.

"I was like, 'Mama, I can't feel my arm'. She was like, 'What you mean?' I was like, 'I can't feel my arm,'" Na'shell Broughton-Robinson said.

Her mother added, "[The bullet] went through her shoulder, out her armpit, back in, went through her lung, and it's lodged in her liver too close to the main artery to be removed."

Broughton found herself in a place she never imagined, without a guide. Then, she met Sylvia Bennett-Stone of Birmingham - in town meeting with black mothers like herself.

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Bennett-Stone's daughter was killed in the crossfire at an Alabama gas station in 2004. 

"I thought, 'I would die myself, and there was no road map to how to survive this thing," she said.

She created Voices of Black Mothers United, which formed a bridge between recently bereaved mothers and law enforcement. Now, it's spread to 22 states and Kentucky will be number 23.

Indiana has already seen success, with state lead Donita Royal.

Royal started Indiana's chapter in 2020. Her son's birthday would be this Saturday. She'll spend the day reaching out to mothers in a similar position; WHAS11 asked her what she hears in those conversations. 

"Revenge, mother don't want to live, the mother loses hope, siblings lose hope, retaliation, this is what it looks like," Royal said.

She said they've had success stopping that cycle by going to the mother's home, sitting with the family and offering empathy. 

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Royal added, "I wish I had that support because we share the same pain. The same pain that don't nobody else understand."

Now, that change is coming to Louisville, led by women like Alesia Floyd whose son was killed in October 2020.

She said the change won't be brought into Kentucky, it has to be made here through community policing and support for and from mothers. 

"Understand that we are Louisville so we cannot expect other people to come into our home and change it, we've got to change it," Floyd said.

Voices of Black Mothers United will hold their first event in Louisville this Saturday at Central Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

It's called operation recovery. They'll have discussions on alternatives to violence, community policing and offer resources for black mothers. 

► Contact reporter Tom Lally at TLally@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter.

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