MOMsSOS, the not-for-profit community group formed in the wake of the killing of seven Evanston youth a few years ago, kicked off its summer with a peace rally on June 9. Across the middle of the parking lot at Church Street and Dodge Avenue was a line of T-shirts, each bearing the face of one of those youth killed, each in separate incidents, during that violent period.
The theme of the rally was “Choose Life,” and the keynote speaker was Reverend Gregory Livingston. MOMsSOS, whose membership includes both men and women, was founded by relatives of some of those victims. Its mission is to focus on “transforming violence and tragedy into education and empowerment opportunities among young African American males.”
Wendy Weaver and Cathy Key-Payne are cofounders of MOMsSOS. David Branch III, Ms. Weaver’s son and Ms. Key-Payne’s nephew, was killed in December 2010.
“We’ve had a really good year,” Ms. Weaver told the RoundTable. She said MOMsSOS will offer two programs: the Dr. Hycel B. Taylor II Mentoring Program for young men and “Real MOMs Real Talk” for young women.
MOMsSOS also sponsors a bereavement support group, “Healing Hearts,” that generally meets from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at Boocoo Cultural Center, 1823 Church St.
In July the Hycel Taylor mentoring program will feature “Conflict Resolution: ‘This Thing Is Real’” with Loyce Spells and James Perrin. Gwen Rucker will facilitate “There Is Power in the Tongue” for Real Moms Real Talk, also in July.