COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) — After the recent gun violence in the Short North, the group, Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children, lined North High Street to call for peace.
"It affects everybody," said Meshell Blair, who lost her son to gun violence in 2021 near the Short North.
The moms want those who live and work in the Short North to know they're here for them and support violence prevention and support services. They also hope their presence makes troublemakers stop, think, and look into their organization.
"Wherever crime is, that’s where we go," said Malissa Thomas St. Clair. "Crime happened here. Extreme crime happened here. A loss of a life of a 21-year-old person happened here, so we’re here."
St. Clair held her pictures of her son as she called for gun violence to end, turning her pain from losing him into her purpose.
Windows of businesses are still damaged from bullets, and St. Clair said she's horrified seeing the impact from the recent gun violence.
"You see the gunshot holes that are so large, and you just start to think, thank God no one died," she said. "I can’t believe that no one didn’t die because of the close proximity of where they were shooting and how many people really do visit this area."
Columbus Police Chief, Elaine Bryant, was at the event on Wednesday night and said she supports the moms' work.
"We’re all on the same page," said Chief Bryant. "We all have that same mission. We want to see this violence in our city reduced or stopped completely."
Blair said being in the Short North and seeing the impact from the recent violence takes her back to when her son died.
"It brought back that whole entire night," she said. "A lot of emotions right now. I’m trying to keep it together and not lose my composure"
She hopes no other parents feel the emotions she feels.
"Life is so much more than just a few seconds of disagreements," said Blair. "They don’t wanna wear one of this orange shirts. They don’t want to be a part of this group of amazing women."
"Stop, pause, think, take five seconds, take a breath," said St. Clair. "When you’re angry, take that "L" and walk away."