South Valley mothers unite against gang violence

FRESNO, Calif.

Mothers United against Gang Violence held a small vigil to pray for an end to violence. Several families have lost loved ones in gang shootings and stabbings. This group is hoping to educate families on how to keep their kids from getting mixed up in gang life.

A few small collages served as brief glimpses into the lives of several homicide victims. The pictures showed the happy times. But the pain stemming from the murders is still with mothers Like Tammy Mitchell.

Her son Michael was stabbed to death last September. His body burned and left in a field.

Tammy Mitchell of Strathmore said, "I just feel like this is something that I have to do to help other mothers and other children so that they don't go through what I've been through."

The event was put together by Mary Martinez, whose son Francisco was killed in 2003.

She says four gang members shot and killed her son as part of a gang initiation in Porterville. Mary is hoping to turn her grief into support and education for families living in areas where gangs' violence runs rampant.

Mary Martinez of Mother's United against Gang Violence said, "We're uplifting families, surviving families that lost a child due to gang violence or any kind of violence. And primarily what we're here for is to pray to stop violence and bring awareness to the community."

Mothers United against Gang Violence says it's working with other support groups for victims' of violent crimes throughout the state.

They're also looking for volunteers.

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