My4Sons uses gala to bring awareness to gun crimes
By Christina Hunter
A phone call that Gabrielle Cunningham received almost eight years ago had such an impact that what she heard on the other end of the phone remains vivid to this day.
“I got a phone call that my child was gone,” she recalled.
The details were devastating.
“The murder of my son, Demetrius. The first thing I wanted to do was die. I blamed myself. The could have, the would have, the should have all came.
“This gun violence thing has to stop somewhere because our children; we’re losing them.”
Cunningham was one of six people who spoke at the first Mother’s Against Gun Violence Gala at the Elks Lodge earlier this month. The event was intended to bring awareness to gun violence.
Felicia Flythe, founder of My4Sons Inc., figured the event would be an effective way to bring people together to find solutions for stopping gun violence in Tallahassee. Plans are in the works to expand the organization’s membership nationally, Flythe said.
Last year Florida Department of Law Enforcement reported that Tallahassee has the highest crime rate in the state. Seventy-one in every 1,000 people have been crime victims in communities the size of Tallahassee across the country, according to Neighborhood Scout.
Flythe, a mother of four sons, suggested that educating parents about communicating with their children could be a start to avoid being a gun-crime victim.
“I’ve seen two people that I know lose children to gun violence,” she said. “The story of Trayvon Martin really touched my heart because it could have been my sons or nephews.”
Parents who lost their children to gun violence weren’t the only ones who were vocal about the matter of gun violence. Some like Dreyshawn Barber talked about surviving.
“When I got shot, all I was thinking about was life. Period,” he said. “I could say I wasn’t really thinking about myself. I was thinking more about family, my little sister and brother. And, just people who were going to be affected. I put myself in everyone else’s shoes.”
The organization plans to begin lobbying political leaders for tougher laws against gun-related crimes. However, Flythe said she’s approached gubernatorial candidate and current Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.
“I’ve told him we’re going to elect him as governor for the state of Florida and I’m going to push for those tougher gun laws,” she said. “Gun control needs to be handled, something needs to be done.”