A story for every victim

Women start L.A. chapter of group for homicide victims' families

When Paula Henderson’s son was killed one day before his 21st birthday in 2010, one of the most difficult aspects of her loss was to talk about what happened.

“It’s hard to stand up and say, ‘My son was murdered,’ ” she said. “People judge you. It’s like, ‘What was your son doing?’ ”

Three years later, she wants to help others who have lost a loved one.  Henderson, along with Bridgette Burns, who lost a nephew to gun violence, are starting an L.A. chapter of an organization called Mothers In Charge.

The group’s mission is violence education, prevention and intervention. The organization, which began in Pennsylvania, has several chapters around the country.

Henderson said the shootings and killings in some communities can be attributed to mental health issues that the children and families are suffering from.

She hopes to first provide resources for others and eventually reach out to children through mentoring.

“The murdering that’s going on is not normal,” she said. “It’s not a normal thing that a child would pick up a gun and kill another child.”

Henderson felt like she suffered silently after her son died in 2010 and said the loss is a pain that an entire family experiences.

“Every year that that child is missing from that family, that family suffers,” she said.

The group will hold a community outreach meeting Monday, Oct. 7, at Love, Peace and Happiness Family Christian Fellowship at 4951 S. Figueroa Street in Los Angeles.

Scheduled presenters include victims of violent crime, grief counselors and clergy. For more information, contact Henderson at pauladix90@yahoo.com.

-- Nicole Santa Cruz

Photo: Paula Henderson with her son, Leeban Adan. Credit: Paula Henderson

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