COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Men and women in Columbus are joining forces to put an end to violence.
The local non-profit organization Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children launched a new program Saturday night – the Fathers of Murdered Columbus Children.
“I’m 10 years in and it’s still rough,” said Michael St. Clair, spokesperson for the fathers’ group. “So if I can help someone get over the hump and get back to leading a normal life, then that’s where I want to be.”
By starting the new initiative, these mothers said they are filling a void in the community.
No one in either group asked to be put in that position, but everyone at Saturday’s event is choosing to do something bigger with their pain.
“Well, I think it is needed,” St. Clair said. “It’s needed for the men. They need support, they need someone to know, ‘Hey, someone is here that’s been through this.’”
He said the level of strength from the members of both groups at the event was amazing, and that fathers need to be there for each other, but also, they need to be there for the next generation.
“Mentorship is key,” St. Clair said. “Mentorship for the youth is really important. Keeping them involved in positive activities, keeping them doing big things to show them better parts of life.”
Karla Harris, one of the co-founders of Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children, believes the new initiative will be specifically impactful for young boys; she says these fathers may be able to offer them the mentorship that a mother can’t always give a young boy.
“Sometimes, maybe the younger male youth, they might not get what they need from us as women, as sister soldiers, so let’s pull our men in, let’s pull our youth with our men and see what we can get out of this,” she said.
The mothers said the launch event was part of a movement, coming together to celebrate in the presence of Columbus city leaders just shows what is possible.
“When we started Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children, we didn’t know how impactful it would be to the community,” Harris said. “And to see all of the mothers supporting and all of us supporting the mothers, we figured it’s time to get the men back behind us and in the streets.”
For more on how to get involved, click here.