LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Every time a life is taken by gun violence, it leaves a grieving family behind, and at least 15 shootings last weekend forced many of those families to relive their trauma.
Yolanda Harrison and Lakeshia Smith are both Little Rock mothers in the Central Arkansas Chapter of Parents Of Murdered Children. Their sons were shot and killed in 2018 and 2014, and they say something needs to be done to prevent more families from experiencing their grief.
When gunfire rings and sirens blare, the memories resurface.
“It’s a lifetime of pain that we have to go through,” explained Yolanda Harrison, who lost her son Devan Sprawling to gun violence in 2018.
Harrison and Lakeshia Smith, the mother of 2018 murder victim Shoncoven Smith, are tired of seeing people killed.
“This weekend. That’s horrible,” Smith expressed. “That’s 50 people (killed this year) and it’s just August.”
Harrison stated, “It’s at the point where we’re going to need the national guard in this city.”
Both women say Little Rock and Pulaski County experiencing over a dozen shooting in two days is telling.
“What it shows to me is that the criminals think that the city is a joke,” Harrison admitted.
The moms believe it is up to prosecutors and lawmakers to ensure violent criminals take violent crime seriously and get the time they deserve.
“Why do they have a right to plea out? If you know you’ve done it, take it like a man. You shot him like a man,” Smith urged.
“Where’s the fear?”, Harrison asked. “Let’s implement some fear here. Put that fear factor in and make a believer out of some of these criminals.”
And if anyone is sitting on information, they ask those people to hand it over and give closure to a mother, a father, a sibling, or a friend like them.
“If we cannot work together as a team, what you’re saying is you give up on this city,” Harrison warned. “Please don’t give up on the city. Let’s work together and let’s do something about what’s going on with this crime.”
The Central Arkansas Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children accepts all family and friends of those who have died from violence. You can find more information on when and where they meet, at CACofPOMC.com.