Breaking News
More () »

"Mother's Day Weekend of Hope" honors those who have lost their children to gun violence

The Derek Olivier Research Institute held a gathering on Saturday to honor the mothers that keep pushing forward, despite losing their children to gun violence.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — After losing her son to gun violence two years ago, Mother's Day doesn't feel the same to Yolanda Harrison.

"That was the day my life changed forever," Harrison said. 

"And moms, the day that you lost your angels, that was the day your life changed forever also."

Harrison spoke at the inaugural 'Mother's Day Weekend of Hope' alongside other mothers who have lost their children to gun violence. 

"I haven't dealt with anything tougher in my life, and I don't think that I ever will," Harrison said.

Harrison lost her son, Devan Sprawling, in 2018. She said that the bond that she had with him made her loss that much greater.

"I think that hit me even harder, because of the fact of who he was," Harrison said. 

"Always smiling, always being nice to people, he was a Christian. So that hurt me more than anything, knowing that his kindness, his kind heart, he would've done anything for anyone."

Other mothers were in attendance and went to speak about their experiences.

"My only child," Theresa Butler said. 

"I thank God every day that he allowed me to get up to help somebody else."

The concept of empathy characterized the entire event, as those in attendance honored those who have lost their lives, while supporting the family members.

"When a mother whose lost a son or daughter is talking, people tend to listen," Edmond Davis, the director of DORI, said. 

"So they have a voice and if they don't want to speak, we're going to speak for them."

The Little Rock Chief of Police, Keith Humphrey, also attended the event. 

He spoke on the need to reduce black on black crime in the city, and the pain that he feels when reports of them cross his desk.

"At the end of the day, you still have a family who's grieving," Humphrey said.

"It's collateral damage." 

The Derek Olivier Research Institute (DORI) hosted the event at Little Rock Central High School.

The gathering ended with over 50 balloons and three doves being released into the sky.

While losing her son won't get any easier, Harrison said that this is something she'll carry forever.

"Because I know for the rest of my life, I know I have to deal with this," Harrison said. 

"It doesn't get easier just because it's been two years or ten years," she continued. 

"I've talked to moms who've dealt with this 10 years ago or 20 years ago and they still cry."

Even though the pain will always be there, this Mother's Day is different as Harrison mentioned that she's feeling better than she has in years.

"Actually, I think this might be my best Mothers Day since it happened," she said. 

"Because of this event. Through all of my counseling and talking with other moms, tomorrow will be a little easier than it has been the past two Mother's Days."

Harrison said that she plans on attending next year's Mother's Day Weekend of Hope.

Before You Leave, Check This Out