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Mothers of Murdered Sons holds 'Homicide Forgiveness' event as city nears 300 homicides

Dorothy Scriberm, left, stands next to Cynthia Collins during a press conference held by Mothers of Murdered Sons and Daughters United to address the city's violence.
Dorothy Scriberm, left, stands next to Cynthia Collins during a press conference held by Mothers of Murdered Sons and Daughters United to address the city's violence. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

For almost 10 years, Daphne Alston has led anti-violence marches, vigils and other events around Baltimore since her son was killed in 2008.

But as the city approaches its 300th homicide of the year, Alston, the co-founder of Mothers of Murdered Sons and Daughters United, said the group is taking a new approach.

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On Tuesday, members of the group gathered at Pennsylvania and North avenues to offer forgiveness.

“We’re just tired of it every day. At some point, we have to put the guns down,” Alston said.

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Without forgiveness, there cannot be healing, she said. “We don’t want funerals anymore. We don’t want this for any more of our children.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, there have been 296 people killed in the city, making it one of the deadliest years on record.

Alston said the community has to recognize the issue to stop the violence. Police can only do so much to prevent violence, she said.

“They’re not social workers, or babysitters,” she said, adding that other institutions and communities must also contribute to the effort.

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Alston was joined by women who have lost sons to violence as recently as two months ago, and one woman who lost her son 20 years ago. Both women said the pain is still fresh.

Others in attendance wore shirts with their children’s picture, and spoke about life after losing a child.

Several wept as they spoke.

Dorothy Scriber, whose son Louis Scott was fatally shot on Aug. 30, 2010, said “our children are being swallowed up” by the streets. She urged the youth of the city to recognize the need for change to end the violence.

“You can change. You have to make a change in your life… this is not the answer,” she said.

Dedrah Johnson spoke about how violence has forever changed her life. Her 20-year-old son, Dejuane M. Beverley, was killed on August 8 in Baltimore County. She said he recently had been promoted at his job at the airport, escorting elderly passengers, when he was shot near Liberty Road, just outside the city line.

Johnson said she came to the event to make a difference, to hopefully inspire youth to seek help instead of resorting to violence.

“My goal is to help somebody else. Maybe somebody will see me and reach out for help,” she said. “Baltimore has to get better. It’s never-ending. We have to stand up and fight.”

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