LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — There have been greater than a dozen shootings in Lexington since March 1, with at the very least 5 ending with lives misplaced — a sample two Lexington males partnered collectively for a Mom’s Day dinner occasion to attempt to change.
Damion Riley grew up in Lexington and went to Lexington Catholic, however discovered himself concerned in medicine. He mentioned he hit a low interval.
“I imply going to jail, that was like all-time low for me. And I used to be like ‘OK, that is, not the life I am presupposed to be dwelling.’ So once I acquired out I used to be like I want to alter as a result of I do not wish to kill my neighborhood with the medicine or the violence that we’re seeing now. So as soon as I acquired out, I hit the bottom working, put my considering cap on and every little thing else got here to fruition,” Riley mentioned.
On the time he was dwelling in Evansville, Indiana, and he confirmed up on the coroner’s workplace asking for a physique bag.
“I used to be like, ‘Is there any means you’ll be able to assist me? I wish to borrow a physique bag.’ And once I went in, he was like, ‘Positive,’ did not know me from Adam and Eve, he was like, ‘simply put me out of enterprise.’ So after that, that is when Mission Bodybag was born,” Riley mentioned.
Since 2014, Riley has been touring the nation chatting with 1000’s of younger adults and children about altering their story from a life that might finish in early demise.
“I do that hour-long presentation the place it exhibits them what to do, how they will find yourself,” he mentioned. “After which in the end redemption — how they will change their life and are available again for from it.”
He defined Mission Bodybag is about making life exterior of crime appear achievable and placing an finish to “Black-on-Black crime.”
“We simply tried to become involved with them in attempting to know, you already know, what they will what challenges they’re going through from day-to-day so they do not fall into the lifetime of jail, or the graveyard, or promoting medicine,” Riley mentioned.
The gut-punch of his shows comes on the finish when he pulls out the big black physique bag.
“We ask volunteers youngsters to return up and we put them on this physique bag, after which we shut it, we shut it, and I inform them whereas they’re within it, to simply shut their eyes and picture,” Riley defined. “After they get out I ask them questions like, OK, ‘what did you suppose?’ after which after that, we put a mother or two within the bag, and make them notice, OK, ‘possibly I want to alter my life earlier than my mother leads to this bag or I find yourself on this bag.'”
After Riley moved again to Lexington a few 12 months in the past, a friendship relationship again to Little-League baseball, rekindled.
“I’ve [known] Damien, a very long time,” mentioned Demetrius Taylor. “We used to play baseball in opposition to one another as boys. We have all the time been buddies ever since then, since childhood.”
Taylor based Households And Kids Collectively, a corporation that has been attempting to deliver the Lexington neighborhood collectively.
“Not solely been simply the younger ones, you already know, younger adults too, you already know, within the 20s. In any respect ages, and even households attempting to deliver them again to turn out to be tighter as a result of once I say household I imply, everyone, you do not have to be kin to someone to be thought-about household,” mentioned Taylor.
He defined F.A.C.T. is about assembly youngsters the place they’re at and pulling them out of a downward spiral.
“We wish to attempt to catch these youngsters and provides them a greater understanding some higher approach to dwell, it is OK to dwell,” mentioned Taylor, “, there’s nothing cool about dying younger, and when your mother has to really feel that damage eternally. So, we attempting to provide these youngsters one other out of the den.”
To achieve these youngsters, Mission Bodybag and F.A.C.T. partnered collectively to plan a Mom’s Day dinner occasion set for five to 11 p.m. on Might 1 on the Clarion Resort in Lexington. The founders hope that moms might help them deliver their youngsters into the dialog.
The Might 1 occasion will honor moms who’ve misplaced kids to gun violence in Lexington however Riley and Taylor say all are welcome. Taylor defined what the purpose is.
“These moms to have the ability to bond with one another and begin a relationship, so we are able to probably be capable of get all of those youngsters collectively in the identical house, and it will not be no animosity,” Taylor mentioned. “They can provide one another a handshake, they will hug one another and inform one another ‘I really like you’ on the finish of the day, there is not any want for us to wish to kill one another for no motive.”
“It is gonna be a tragic second as a result of we’re gonna be honoring your baby, however on the similar time, you already know, it is all the time life after demise, and we wished to get give these moms some consolation we simply wish to — as many I wish to get as many as many as I can as we speak to simply to cater to the ladies that day,” mentioned Taylor, “you are not only a mom from sooner or later you’re a mom, daily of the 12 months.”
Riley mentioned he feels beginning with moms goes to be impactful.
“It is gonna deliver different moms collectively, that they do not even know one another, but it surely’s simply the purpose of bringing them collectively, and letting them sort of grieve and console one another and speak about, you know the way the children have been. It is a massive occasion, it is gonna be particular,” Riley mentioned.
Taylor summed their Mom’s Day occasion up: “We wish to give them some positivity from our side. We carried out been on the market within the streets earlier than we have carried out lived that life. We was ready to have the ability to survive and be capable of inform our story. And now we would like as an alternative of us being an issue that we wish to be a part of the answer.”