Lead Advocate Against Gun Violence: Mother’s Unite!

Lead Advocate Against Gun Violence

In recent years, the issue of gun violence has taken center stage in America. From mass shootings that make headlines to the daily, often unnoticed, toll it takes on communities, it’s a crisis that has reached a breaking point. And at the forefront of this fight for change are mothers who have transformed their grief into a powerful force for good. Gun violence is a stark reality in many American neighborhoods, but its effects on Black mothers and their communities are particularly profound. Their harrowing stories, the resilience, and the activism of these mothers make them champions in the face of adversity.

The statistics are staggering. Gun violence is the leading cause of death for Black children and teenagers. Every day, Black mothers across the country are confronted with the fear that their children may not return home due to a stray bullet or a targeted attack. The effects of this violence ripple through communities, leaving a trail of trauma and loss in their wake. The pain experienced by Black mothers who lose their children to gun violence is immeasurable. It’s a pain that lingers, a wound that never truly heals. In the face of this staggering loss, Black mothers show remarkable resilience. They are mourning their children and channeling their grief into action. Many of them have become advocates, activists, and community leaders, determined to break the cycle of violence.

Gun violence doesn’t just affect individual families; it takes a toll on entire communities. Schools in neighborhoods plagued by gun violence often have students who struggle with trauma, making it harder for them to focus on their education. The pervasive threat of violence forces businesses to close, keeping residents indoors and robbing communities of the vibrancy they deserve. Black mothers are not just passive victims of gun violence; they are fierce advocates for change. Organizations like Moms Demand Action and Black Mothers Against Violence have emerged as powerful forces in the fight for common-sense gun control. These groups are pushing for policy changes, community investment, and greater awareness of the devastating impact of gun violence on Black families.

The above few paragraphs describe the life of Leatha Sherill-Bush. She is the founder of Survivors Affected by Violence: The Jack Brown Foundation

SGMD: Thank you for taking time away from your busy schedule to discuss your lived experience. Please introduce yourself.

LSB:  I’m a mother surviving her pain. Greetings. My name is Leatha Sherill-Bush. I’m the mother of 6 gifts from God. My beautiful children of one that’s adopted. Reasons why I say I’m a survivor. I’ve been through so many tragedies in this lifetime. But but God. I’m still standing. Even after the aftermath of losing two children, my 1st born son to gun violence and my 1st daughter to a medical illness. When I tell you, I’m a survivor of a multitude of life-changing experiences. Being a recovering addict. I made it through 27 years of recovery. Molestation, rape, and caged in a world of domestic violence. Losing my children to the system, DCF. Then, I returned with a vengeance to get full custody of my gifts from God. But God. I made it through. Seeing the trials and tribulations I went through. It was necessary. I had to understand the assignment. Because if it had not been for the Lord by my side. I wouldn’t know where I would be today. But God. God was my strength every time, I felt like giving up. I often said these words to myself: No matter what I went through, I never gave up. Giving up wasn’t an option when I knew. I came from a strong Black woman who raised 12 children by herself. None of the fathers was around. So, I lacked the love of a father. So that’s why I looked for love in all the wrong places. And I always looked for a father figure in a man. And that’s how I became a mother surviving her pain.

SGMD: Your story is so powerful and filled with resilience. You really answered the question of your purpose.

LSB: My purpose is that I’m still living it. All I want to do is give back to children and families who lost hope in life. To become bigger and better and beyond my wildest dreams and to give back as it’s so freely given back to me: hope.

SGMD: What is your call to action for the community?

SLB: My call to action is to find ways and means to deal with gun violence and grief. And to find solutions with other programs that can help in any way. To let the community know that we still care.

SGMD: Any final words?

LSB: God is able to heal the sick. He healed by his stripes. In the mighty name of Jesus Christ.

The stories of Black mothers impacted by gun violence are stories of pain, resilience, and hope. They stand as a powerful reminder that communities can heal and thrive when they come together to address this crisis. The fight for change is far from over, but with the determination of these mothers, there is hope for a future where gun violence is no longer a daily threat to Black families and their communities. The impact of gun violence on Black mothers and their communities is a pressing issue that demands our attention, empathy, and action. As a society, we must support these mothers in their efforts to bring about change and work collectively to create safer and more equitable communities for all.

The Resident Legal Diva

The Resident Legal Diva

Melba Pearson is an attorney specializing in civil rights and criminal law, emphasizing policy. She is the Director of Prosecution Projects at the Gordon Institute for Public Policy, and co-manager for the Prosecutorial Performance Indicators (PPI) Project based at Florida International University. The PPIs aim to bring more transparency, equity, and racial justice to the criminal justice system. Ms. Pearson also serves as Faculty in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. She has a consulting practice through her firm MVP Law, which includes assessments of police departments and creating community engagement strategies around criminal justice/civil rights issues. Before joining FIU, Ms. Pearson spent three years as Deputy Director of the ACLU of Florida. She worked to change police practices, expand voting rights, and reform the criminal justice system. Previously, Ms. Pearson was an Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County for 16 years, culminating as Assistant Chief in the Career Criminal/Robbery Unit, supervising junior attorneys while prosecuting homicides. She serves as Vice Chair of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section, co-chair of the Prosecution Function Committee, and President of the National Black Prosecutors Association Foundation. Ms. Pearson regularly provides legal analysis for CourtTV, Law & Crime, local networks, and through op-eds that have been published in the Miami Herald, Washington Post, and other national outlets. She is the editor/author of the book “Can They Do That? Understanding Prosecutorial Discretion”. Lastly, she hosts a web show #MondayswithMelba, and a podcast as The Resident Legal Diva. In 2020, Ms. Pearson was the progressive candidate for Miami Dade State Attorney, garnering a strong showing across party lines. She lives in Miami Beach with her husband Bill.

SGMD: Melba, why did you become an attorney?

MPM: I became an attorney because I was inspired by all the stories my father used to share about the first civil rights movement. He always quickly reminded me that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other activists had attorneys who assisted them when arrested while protesting; they played a critical role in the movement’s success. As a beneficiary of their struggle, I felt it was important for me to carry on this work. 

SGMD: We thank you for heeding your father’s words. What drives you to continue the work?

MPM: Because we are not at the destination — equity, equality, and fair treatment for all! Sadly, we have seen a steady erosion of rights since 2016. Whether you think about voting (shrinking access to the ballot box by reducing early voting hours and falsely spreading rumors of voter fraud), reproductive justice (no one thought Roe v. Wade could ever be overturned), education (attacks on teaching accurate history, the fear of examining the fallout from slavery to the present day, and terrorizing teachers), criminal justice (removing the requirement for a unanimous jury to implement the death penalty, limited resources for people returning to the community post-incarceration, disparities in how victims of color are treated), and LGBTQ+ rights — we have a very long way to go.

SGMD: There is a real lived experience here; please share your thoughts on Florida’s social justice movement in the next three years.

MPM: The last few years have been an intense wake-up call nationally, especially in Florida. We have seen two years of the Florida Legislature delivering everything the governor has requested to fuel his culture wars for his presidential ambitions — all on the backs of Floridians. I believe the backlash to the hateful laws will cause more people to mobilize – whether through educating themselves about issues they had not previously considered, actively engaging their elected officials, or running for office themselves. I see parents stepping up out of concern about what their kids are learning (or more importantly, not learning). I see us leveraging social media and the power of the people — people who have previously been apathetic are now paying attention and realizing that we all have to do our part for a brighter, better future. Most importantly, we will have a new governor in 2026, which is the perfect springboard to engage people around the core value of justice. 

SGMD: And this is why voting is so important.

Movement Lawyer


Movement lawyering is a legal approach that seeks to support and advance social justice movements by providing legal assistance, advocacy, and expertise to activists and organizers. This approach recognizes that legal issues often intersect with broader social and political movements and aims to use the law to achieve social change and justice.

Meet Carrie Feit, a Senior Attorney at Community Justice Project. Carrie grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and landed at George Washington University for law school, earning a J.D. and a Master’s of Public Health. She practiced for over 20 years in Miami as a federal court litigator representing individuals in their disability insurance claims, first with a small firm and, beginning in 2008, in her own practice.

A defining moment for Carrie was the election of the 45th President of the United States when she woke up to unapologetic racism, ableism, xenophobia, and unspeakable misogyny. With her children and nieces in mind, she joined the organizing of the Women’s March on Washington and helped found Women’s March Florida, which, most importantly to her, brought her into the struggle for collective liberation guided by Black and Brown and Queer community organizers and organizations rooted in systems change in Miami. Carrie’s commitment to allyship, equity, and the ability for all to thrive through organizing informed by marginalized populations led to her impassioned transition to movement lawyering.

SGMD asked Carrie about her work-life balance, which she shared with us. “Balance is still aspirational at this point, but what pushes me towards work-life balance is my work in the community that reminds me of my privilege and makes me increasingly grateful for my family and our life together.  I continue to fight in the trenches, most recently doing eviction defense work, because of the direct impact on women and families. I stay in the long-term struggle for systems change because of my faith in and inspiration from the love and beautiful humanity surrounding me in the movement. As I navigate the familiar and the unfamiliar, I tell myself, “If you’re uncomfortable,  you’re doing the good work.””

Movement lawyering is closely associated with social justice movements such as civil rights, environmental justice, immigration rights, and LGBTQ+ rights. By working alongside activists and communities, movement lawyers aim to use the law to dismantle oppression systems and advance justice and equity.

The Business of Social Work: A Conversation with a Multifaceted Black Social Worker, Mother, Wife, and Business Owner

The Business of Social Work

In a world where women continuously redefine their roles, we have the privilege of sitting down with a remarkable individual who seems to effortlessly navigate the complex terrain of being a black social worker, a dedicated mother, a loving wife, and a thriving business owner. Join us in gaining insights into her journey, challenges, and strategies for successfully juggling these significant roles. Please meet wife, mother, business owner, and Social Worker Tiesha Carvil.

SGMD: Thank you for joining us today. To begin, could you share a little about yourself and the different hats you wear daily?

TC: Of course, I’m delighted to be here. My name is Tiesha, and my life is a beautiful tapestry of roles. I’m a Black female social worker specializing in substance abuse, where I support individuals and families facing various challenges. I’m also a mother of three incredible children, a wife to an amazing husband, and the proud owner of Healing Minds Therapeutic Services, LLC centered around helping people heal and work through ways to overcome addiction, anxiety, depression, and co-occurring conditions.

SGMD: It’s truly inspiring how you manage all these roles. Can you shed some light on what brought you to Social Work?

TC: My mom. She had been a substance abuse user for as long as I could remember. When she died last year of an overdose, I believe I understood my calling even more to help other children and parents not fall into the trap of this disease.

SGMD: Our condolences to you and your family, and we thank you for your transparency. In light of your mother’s passing, what impact do you want to leave on Earth?

TC: That I was an amazing wife, mother, and friend. I don’t believe all the other things matter if my family doesn’t believe in me.

SGMD: That’s a valuable perspective and a wonderful approach to life as a whole. As you balance the demands of motherhood, being a wife, and a business owner, what keeps you motivated for the work?

TC: Knowing that God desires to use people who want to be used and that many souls need his help. I never know when he will use me or what he will have me say, but I want to be used and led by him.

Tiesha’s story exemplifies the strength and grace that comes with wearing various hats. As a Black female social worker, mother, wife, and business owner, she’s mastered the art of blending her roles in service to others. Her journey serves as a reminder that embracing imperfection and seeking support are essential elements of a thriving life.