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Black Stories

Where Do We Go From Here: Supporting Families in the Grieving Process

As the CEO and founder of Where Do We Go From Here Inc., I wear many hats: Hospital responder, violence interrupter, advocate, healer, survivor, and liaison with the Queens DA Office for survivors who need burial assistance, court support, or a liaison with detectives on both open and cold cases. Since our founding, our mission has been to assist families as they learn how to navigate their new life without their loved ones.

When my son Darrell was killed in front of me over a parking incident, I lost everything—even myself. Through my trauma, I became homeless, I didn’t want to live, and I was unable to understand or relate to the different stages of the grieving process that I was going through. 

During this time, one person invested in me: Erica Ford, the founder of LIFE Camp Inc. She is my mentor and my saver, and through her guidance, support, and consistency, I learned how to live my new life without my son. I don’t want another family to have to experience what I went through after my son was killed—and that is my motivation to do this work. What Erica Ford instilled in me is what I now give back to the families I serve.

At Where Do We Go From Here, our daily work demands the services that families need to begin their grieving process. This can look like being at the hospital all hours of the night to provide emotional support, attending funerals and/or assisting with funeral arrangements, or providing meals to families during the first 24 hours of them losing their loved ones. We also demand conversations with the NYPD to discuss updates on their ongoing or cold cases. 

The impact of gun violence on Black and brown communities was not always taken seriously; its disparate impact had become the norm, and it stayed the norm for a long time. There have been changes in recent years, but I would love to see even more done to better support my community, such as introducing stricter regulations around gun trafficking

At Where Do We Go From Here, we try to prevent and disrupt cycles of violence and retaliation, either before someone is killed, or working with their loved ones after someone has been killed. Through my advocacy with Moms Demand Action, I was connected with the Everytown Survivor Network. Receiving the Everytown Survivor Network grant in 2023 has allowed our organization to successfully provide events within our community to support survivors of gun violence.

We want to address the causes of gun violence within our community and the trauma that comes from it. We are always working toward a reality where neither another family nor another community has to suffer the death of a loved one to preventable violence.

There are many stories that can be told as we do this work. But the most important highlights are seeing a mother or father continuing to live and carrying on their loved one’s legacy. 

Learn more about Where Do We Go From Here Inc.

Learn more about the Everytown Survivor Network.

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