Dorothy is from Pennsylvania and shared her story for the 2016 release of Crime Survivors Speak: The First-Ever National Survey of Victims’ Views:
On December 6, 2001, at 2 a.m., I got a call. My 24-year-old son, Khaaliq, was in the hospital — shot seven times by a neighbor over an argument about a parking spot. By the time I arrived at the hospital, he was already gone. After Khaaliq died, I didn’t want to live. I was overwhelmed by the pain, despair and anger. Eventually, I received counseling to deal with my grief. Two years after Khaaliq’s death, I formed Mothers in Charge as another vehicle to channel my pain and find healing. It is a lifeline for me and for others who have lost loved ones. What started as two dozen women meeting in our homes has turned into a national support network of more than 1,000 in cities in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Missouri, and California. Today, we have expanded our work to advocate for safe communities and prevent violence, and we go into jails and prisons to work with children and women, many of whom are survivors themselves. We know hurt people hurt people. To truly stem violent behavior, we have to address the root problems facing people who commit crimes so they can come back into our communities ready to make positive contributions. We need to revamp the current criminal justice system to provide treatment, education and other alternatives.