The Marshall Project: My Son Was Murdered on Mother’s Day

00That May weekend four years ago started like most: I hoped to see my son but needed to go to work. In fact, it was the Saturday before Mother’s Day, and he’d already called to say that he was driving down to see me for the occasion—he had something special for me, he said. His voice was excited, which made me smile. I was happy that my 24-year-old child, with a daughter of his own, still made time for his mom. But we didn’t get to see each other that Saturday evening, and I went to bed unsettled, unsure what our plans were for Mother’s Day. I got the call in the middle of the night from the hospital. At first, I thought they were calling about my sister, who had been in the hospital recently. They weren’t. They were calling to tell me that my son had been shot. And by the time I got there, he was dead. Cheri Burks is a longtime resident of Camden, N.J. After her son’s death, she founded United Mothers Stand to help grieving mothers deal with the loss of a child. The organization partners with the Alliance for Safety and Justice, a national network of crime survivors that advocates replacing prison spending with investments in community health, treatment, and prevention.

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