Families of gun violence victims call for awareness, action on awareness weekend

Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 10:09 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Families who have lost are coming together this weekend to remember those lost and issue a call to action.

An’namarie Baker lost her 25-year-old son Damion 11 months ago to gun violence. A former high school football star, he died in a shooting at a downtown parking lot near Busch Stadium. She says his death has continued to affect the family, especially since no suspects have been arrested in his death.

“It is the residue that happens to the village after such an event,” Baker said. “It is an impact that I just don’t even know really how to put into a full sentence, other than traumatic.”

It’s a significant weekend for Baker, as the country remembers National Gun Violence Awareness Day, the first Friday in June. In East St. Louis, leaders there came together in a solemn remembrance of those lost too soon. Attendees were encouraged to wear orange for the event, hosted by Metro East Organizing Coalition.

Brenda Mitchell lost one of her two sons to gun violence in 2005. She now works with MOMS Demand Action and spoke at Friday evening’s event, along with several others. She says that, even though gun reform can be a divisive issue, everyone needs to come together to protect others.

“Get rid of the divisiveness. Understand that we are burying our children in a free country,” Mitchell said. “While we are protecting the rights of others over scenes, we are burying our children in a free country, and we’re losing potential.”

To find more events honoring the weekend, click here.