Since its founding more than 5 years ago, Mothers of Murdered Children Detroit (MOMC) has provided support, advocacy, and healing services to mothers and families who have lost loved ones to violence. From helping with funeral arrangements and facilitating grief support groups, to accompanying families to court and helping grieving grandmothers gain legal access of their grandchildren, MOMC is there for families who are trying to rebuild their lives after surviving violence.
EJUSA has been giving technical support to MOMC for several months, helping them build their capacity and prepare to apply for VOCA funding. Grassroots Capacity Building Specialist Latrina Kelly-James helped them organize all of their services and support into a program model, worked with them to create a client tracking system, developed program narratives, and coached the staff on building relationships with local and state resources.
MOMC and Andrea Clark, its dynamic and passionate Founder and Executive Director, are driven to get the resources they need to continue their work and to help even more people in the community. They recently partnered with the Detroit Police Department to solve cold cases, and they have secured office space in the heart of the Detroit community. They continue to build their reputation as the go-to organization for people in search of healing and action against violence.
MOMC’s growth over the past six months has been amazing, not just in utilizing the tools EJUSA has provided, but also in the confidence they have rightfully gained in knowing the impact of their work on the larger Detroit community.
“I have been in a room with their volunteers, all mothers who’ve lost children,” Latrina reflected. “They stand and talk about the grief and pain of losing their child, and they also light up when they describe how MOMC is the only organization that really understands their pain and continues to help them.
“Their work is much deeper than just providing services. These women have created a voice for mothers whose children are often seen, even in their death, as being responsible for their own harm.”
Having lost her own son to violence in 2011, Clark is not only an advocate, but also a survivor. She has acknowledged that her son’s death became her calling to help mothers through the grieving process, to navigate the court system, and to foster a healing community. These have all become part of her own personal healing.
“It has been a blessing to work with EJUSA,” Clark said of her work with Latrina. “With her assistance, we have been able to identify areas of weakness in providing services to families impacted by violence, and that gave us the opportunity to strengthen those areas. Latrina has been personable, very patient and freely gives advice, which was so necessary for us.”
Like many grassroots organizations, MOMC’s services and support have not yet translated to sustainable funding. Through the capacity-building and technical assistance model, EJUSA is arming MOMC with the tools to not only get VOCA funding but also to pursue other fundraising efforts. It’s about building on the foundation MOMC has laid.
We look forward to keeping you posted on MOMC’s growth and their impact on healing in Detroit.