The Mothers, a short film by Leanora Minai                 

More about the Mothers in the Documentary

Each month in Durham, North Carolina, a little-known group meets in a room at the public library to share stories of loss and survival. There’s Diane Jones, whose son grew addicted to drugs and was shot and killed in Durham in 1997. His murder remains unsolved. So unbearable was Diane’s initial pain that she had a fleeting impulse to drive in front of a truck.

Sitting next to Diane at these monthly meetings is Mina Hampton. Her son was fatally shot while driving home in Durham in 1994. The killer is out of prison. For years, Mina struggled with the question of “what if,” wondering if she could’ve done something to prevent that fateful day.Mina Hampton holds a portrait of her son, Tommy, in her home in Durham. Photo by Leanora Minai.

Through their sons' death, these two mothers found the strength to carry on. Diane and Mina lead the Durham chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, a national support group for families and friends.

"Helping somebody else understand that this pain is deep in your soul, being there for another mother … it helps me,” Diane says.

Since the documentary premiered in May 2012, WUNC's The State of Things and Tarheel Talk on FOX 50 have had Leanora Minai and the mothers featured in the documentary as guests on their programs. The film screened at the Parents of Murdered Children national conference, Carrboro Film Festival and Alice Fest.

Request a Screening

"The Mothers" is available for screenings as part of a larger community conversation about the aftermath of violence. To arrange a screening for your group or community, please contact Leanora Minai ( The 10-minute documentary premiered at the Nasher Museum of Art in May 2012. It was among other short work presented by students receiving the continuing education certificate in Documentary Arts from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.