Culture & Community

The Grief of A Black Mother Who Lost A Son To Senseless Gun Violence

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Mother, mother, There’s too many of you crying…

While many people know those famous words of Marvin Gaye’s 1971 soul classic, What’s Going On, most people can not comprehend the pain of a mother who has lost a child to senseless gun violence. There are far too many mothers crying out, what’s going on? The media never misses a beat in telling you about what they have termed ‘Black on Black Crime’ and give you a number of statistics about inner city gun violence or how many murders there were from at any given point of time especially in the hood, but they fail to tell you the whole story.

The argument may be it is the job of the news media to report the news and just give you the facts. That may be true, but the personal element is missing in the media and rarely does the pain and suffering that follows is articulated. The pain that follows is as factual but never seems to be expressed.  After the rally and the initial outrage from the community, too many times that mother is left alone to grieve by herself. The calls inquiring ‘are you okay’ and the visits to check on you, begin to diminish by the day, until they stop altogether.

Adding insult to injury, most of these murders go unsolved leaving the mother with unanswered questions. The never-ending seeking of justice makes it all but impossible to fully heal. Then the paper cut that never heals re-opens with every other murder, especially in a city like Mount Vernon that is four square miles and everyone knows everyone.

Weeks, months and sometimes years later, people cannot comprehend why the mother is still grieving and what they are going through. No parent should ever have to bury a child, but many have and unfortunately many more will? No one has the right to tell that mother or that parent how long they have the right to grieve or how to grieve. If never felt that type of lost, you can not possibly understand, especially since that mother who is going through it can’t understand it.

As a writer, I have been blessed with the gift to paint pictures with words, but there are no words I can write that can do it justice, so I share with you a video of a black mother, who shares her pain, her thoughts and her in her own words. Ms. Nazarene Duncan shares how she feels as she continues to grieve her son Wilbert Francis (24) known as Junior, who was shot fourteen times and died, Friday, June 10th. Four months later and counting, the pain is still very real, the unanswered questions are still there, the PTSD (a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event), she still suffers from.

At a community rally Saturday night, close to 100 people filled Mt. Calvary CME (The Promise Church), 38 S. 2nd Avenue, one block north from where her son’s life was cut short, to let Naz know, ‘We Didn’t Forget!’ Ms. Nazarene Duncan shares how she feels and the painful and pervasiveness of her loss in her words. This is Must See TV!

AJ Woodson

AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show. AJ is a Father, Brother, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Hip-Hop Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.

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