Parents of Murdered Children, a national support group for families and friends who’ve lost loved ones to violence, has chapters from New York to California.
My documentary is about a group of Durham, North Carolina, mothers who support each other through grief and healing after losing a child to murder. On August 9 in Phoenix, The Mothers will be shown to 75 to 100 chapter contacts and leaders, including Diane Jones and Mina Hampton, two mothers in my film who lead the Durham chapter of Parents of Murdered Children.
I talked last week with Beckie Miller, co-chair of this year’s national conference. She expects 300 people to attend the overall conference, which features keynote speakers and workshops covering grief, unsolved homicides, victims’ rights, the aftermath of murder and more.
Miller’s 18-year-old son, Brian, was robbed and shot to death in Phoenix in 1991. For nearly 20 years, she has led the Phoenix chapter of Parents of Murdered Children with 1,500 members.
The national conference, Miller said, is a time for survivors to connect, learn and feel inspired. “It just reminds us that we’re not alone and gives us hope that we can survive,” she said.
I’m grateful for this opportunity to share The Mothers at the conference. I hope to contribute to a larger conversation, one I’d like to expand through other screenings in the city of Durham, which had 27 murders in 2011.
I first screened this film to an overflow audience on May 18, 2012, at The Nasher Museum of Art in Durham. My film was among other short work screened by continuing education students receiving the Certificate in Documentary Arts from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. That night was one of the best evenings of my life.
The mothers in my film – their strength and courage to survive and help others – inspired me to tell this story. In my years as a daily newspaper reporter, I wrote about many murders, but it was rare to have the chance to follow up on the pain that endures for loved ones long after the headlines disappear.
I am forever grateful to Diane Jones, Mina Hampton and other family members in Durham for letting me into their lives and sharing their stories.
Request a screening of The Mothers
To arrange a screening of The Mothers for your group or community, please get in touch with me. I also welcome any feedback about the film, as I consider the possibility of expanding it into a longer piece. You can post feedback or read comments left by others in the guestbook.